The next few days at work were incredibly dull, not to mention impossibly slow. Perhaps it was because the owner and operator of the fine establishment known as the Leaky Cauldron was determined to keep Roxanne from seeing her colleagues - the ones she liked, anyway - ever again. She couldn’t decide whether this action was intentional or not. For all she knew, Hannah might have completely rearranged the schedule in an attempt to make things run smoother or even out of boredom; her husband was still away at Hogwarts for the term and if the rumours were true, Hannah had added another cat to her impressive collection, for want of a better word.
However, Roxanne knew the other alternative for the sudden and probably deliberate separation was also the most likely: the landlady had noticed just how close her employees were becoming and how little work seemed to be get done when they were scheduled together. Though Roxanne was not one to entirely neglect her duties, she would be the first to admit that it was extremely difficult to remain focussed on her work when Teddy was making faces at her every opportunity he got and Bert was throwing out incredibly perverted, but entirely too hilarious remarks about the customers after she had taken their orders and delivered them to the resident cook.
Despite the fact she was working with Clara, a polite but absolutely clueless girl, and a few new employees who were more grating than willing to accept her kind offerings of help, Roxanne was content with her job for the first time in a long time. Sure, she might not work the same hours as Bert or Teddy (her stomach swooped at the mere mention of his name, something she was eager to squelch just as soon as she could), but she didn’t completely detest what she was doing.
While she certainly couldn’t say that either Bert or Teddy was her best friend - it had been quite a long time since she’d had someone to call a best friend - she knew she was getting far too close to them, much closer than she had ever intended, especially Teddy.
After the Hobgoblin Encounter, the name Bert had slapped to the incident after Roxanne had told him the whole of the story, she was expecting Teddy to be despondent, distant. It wasn’t every day that you cemented your friendship with someone and then admitted, albeit drunkenly, that it wasn’t such a good idea to go upstairs in fear of what may or may not happen. The thought of the strain in his voice as he spoke those words, the feel of his lips against her forehead, was enough to make a pleasurable chill creep down her spine, despite the niggling in the back of her mind.
Though neither had given any indication things had changed between them, the shift was tangible in the way they communicated. Before, a casual punch on the shoulder or a wallop on the back of the head was acceptable. Now, it seemed all forms of physical contact were prohibited. She might not be able to find the right word for it, but Roxanne knew they were entering dangerous territory.
Sensible people turned their back and ran as fast as they could from danger, but Roxanne had never been a very sensible person. At least, not since she suddenly quit her job at the Ministry and sought employment at any establishment that would have her. Even so, she knew her gig at the Leaky Cauldron was supposed to be temporary; she wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life as a waitress at some second-rate restaurant. So the fact she was actually enjoying her time at work more than her free time was a little more than disconcerting. It was downright terrifying, signifying that her unexpected attachments had become just that - attachments.
Expelling a deep breath, Roxanne pushed her hair out of her face with her free hand, grimacing at the smell of beer as it assaulted her nose. Earlier in the day, a customer hadn’t been paying attention to where he was going on his way to the loo and ended up running smack into Roxanne, who had been carrying two tankards of beer in either hand, both of which splashed down the front of her uniform. The customer had apologised by giving her a hefty tip, though it didn’t take the stench out of her clothes. Nothing did, not even a strong Siphoning Charm.
It didn’t help that she was unceremoniously shoved into the storage cupboard by Hannah, who told her to start cleaning whatever clutter there was out to make room for the next shipment of goods, which was supposed to be coming in later on that evening. Roxanne had rolled her eyes, but accepted the job nonetheless, knowing that it was pointless to argue with her boss, especially after their last encounter. Still, it didn’t mean that she enjoyed the close quarters, sorting through boxes of junk.
She was halfway through the fourth box when a sudden knock on the doorjamb made her jump about a metre in the air, disrupting her balance on the upturned milk crate. Squealing in surprise, she threw an arm out to prevent herself from falling backwards and knocking her head on one of the lower shelving units.
Once she was steady, Roxanne threw a sharp look at the doorway. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of Teddy and his bright blue hair. Hm, that was odd. The last time she had seen Teddy with blue hair, he was snogging Victoire under the mistletoe at Christmas. Something good must have happened.
“Did you have to do that?” she asked sourly, pushing the box away from her with a rough kick of her foot.
“Do what? Surprise you?” he returned, cocking a brow in amusement. “I did knock, you know.”
“So I heard,” she retorted, raking her fingers through her hair again. Her lower back ached from sitting hunched in one position for so long, so she shifted about on the milk crate, trying and failing to find a way of sitting that was remotely comfortable. “Did Hannah send you back here to check on my progress?”
“No,” Teddy answered, folding his arms over his chest and leaning against the doorjamb. “She’s too busy delivering a tongue lashing to Bert. Apparently, he tried to smuggle some sheep through here.”
“Again?” At Teddy’s nod, Roxanne rolled her eyes. “You’d think he would learn after the first time.” She paused to chew on the inside of her cheek, wondering if Teddy was going to stand there all day. If he was, then she wouldn’t be able to get anything done. Not under his scrutiny. She furrowed her brow. “So if Hannah didn’t send you on a mission of espionage, then why are you back here?”
Teddy shrugged. “I don’t know. I was bored.”
“Are you on your break?”
“Yeah,” he said, lifting a hand to scratch the underside of his jaw, where a light shadow had gathered. “I figured you’d want someone to talk to.”
“And you assumed that I’d want to talk to you, did you?” Roxanne questioned, struggling to prevent the mirth from leaking through her voice.
He grinned hugely, his white teeth gleaming even in the poor lighting of the store cupboard. “Like there’s another else you’d rather talk to.”
“I could think of a few,” she responded, sending him a wry smile of her own.
In retaliation, Teddy lashed out with his foot, kicking the milk crate out from underneath her. Roxanne was unable to catch herself on one of the shelves and collapsed in a pathetic heap of tangled limbs on the ground, her head mere centimetres away from the edge of the shelf. Pushing herself to her elbows, Roxanne glared at the blue-haired git in the doorway and picked up the nearest object, which happened to be one of the old menus, and threw it at him.
As expected, she missed her intended target, who snorted his amusement. “Nice shot,” he commented dryly.
“Twat,” she growled, roughly shoving a box to the side and struggling to her feet. “I’m going to get you back.”
“You’ve got me shaking in my boots, Rox,” Teddy said, unable to prevent the smile from stretching across his face. It was impossible to take her threat seriously when she pouted like that.
“Good,” she replied, finally getting to her feet. “You should be.” Tugging at the hem of her tee shirt, which had ridden up when she fell down, Roxanne gave shot him a withering look. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to work now?”
“Probably,” Teddy agreed with a simple nod of his head, “but I wanted to know if you’re doing anything tonight.”
Roxanne tried not to let her surprise show on her face. Folding her arms over her chest in the same manner as Teddy, she licked her lips thoughtfully before responding. “I told Dom that I would watch Ezra for her tonight. Why? Were you planning another evening of debauchery?”
Though the lazy smile fell away from his face, Teddy snorted. “Hardly. I think I’m still recovering from the last one,” he answered easily. “No, I was going to ask if you’d be interested in going to tonight’s match with James and I - we have an extra ticket since Al is sick.”
“I’m sorry,” Roxanne said with a frown. “I’d say yes, but I already promised.”
Teddy waved his hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it.” Though he spoke casually, Roxanne couldn’t help picking up on the note of disappointment in his voice. “I’ll just ask someone -”
“Did you say you had an extra ticket to tonight’s match?” came Bert’s voice, whose head popped around the corner a second later. His perpetually bloodshot eyes were focussed solely on Teddy; he looked like a kid in a candy store.
“Yes,” Teddy replied slowly.
“As in the Puddlemere and Cannon match?”
“That’s the one,” he said with a nod. “Why? Are you interested?”
Roxanne snorted derisively. “Obviously. He’s practically pissing himself with excitement.”
Bert ignored her, though he lifted a hand and flipped her off as he made arrangements with Teddy, who didn’t look as crestfallen as he had moments before. It was strange, but over the last few weeks, he and Bert had actually become friends. She liked to think of herself as the one responsible for their friendship, though she would never say it out loud. With a sigh, she returned to her work of sorting through the boxes, not even noticing when Teddy slipped away to return to his station at the bar.
- - -
After her shift ended, Roxanne hurried back to her flat to have a quick shower and change out of her foul smelling uniform before she had to go to Dom and Scorp’s brownstone to baby-sit Ezra. Though she wasn’t very maternal and could hardly cook to save her life, she enjoyed watching Ezra, despite the fact he alternated between wanting to braid her hair and wrestling her to the ground. He might have been a youngling, but he was strong for his age, almost scarily so, considering how flimsy his parents were.
A quick check of her reflection proved that her appearance was both acceptable and child-proof. The last time she had baby-sat Ezra, the boy had spilled fruit punch down the front of her favourite shirt, and she had somehow managed to get macaroni and cheese in her hair. Tonight, however, she wore an old grey cable-knit jumper with a pair of paint-splattered jeans and her hair was pulled back into a loose bun that hung on the nape of her neck.
Since they lived in the suburbs of London, Roxanne had to Apparate to their house, which was a less-than-pleasant prospect. It wasn’t that she disliked Apparation, but it wasn’t her favourite method of travel. But since she could hardly stay on a broom for longer than two minutes without holding onto someone for dear life and their house wasn’t connected to the Floo Network, Roxanne had to make due with what she was given. Usually, she would’ve taken a bus, but she was very nearly running late as it was, and she didn’t want to keep Dominique waiting. The woman had a horrible temper.
Roxanne had barely mounted the front steps before the door was thrown open, a ragged-looking Scorpius standing in the doorway, silhouetted by the light streaming behind him.
“Roxie!” he greeted warmly, stepping forwards to hug her.
She returned the sentiment half-heartedly, once again getting that peculiar feeling in her gut whenever she hugged Scorpius. Even though he was a part of the family and had been for quite some time, she never liked him as much as the others did. Maybe it was a part of the old family prejudice alive in her veins or the obnoxious way he slicked back his hair or the fact his eyebrows were several shades darker than his shock of platinum blonde hair or the fact he had taken away the only person she had ever considered to be her best friend. Whatever it was, it rubbed her the wrong way.
Thankfully, Scorpius released her after a moment, a warm smile on his face. “Good to see you again.”
She returned his smile, though hers didn’t quite reach her eyes. “You too.”
“Good thing you got here when you did,” Scorpius said as he gestured for her to enter the house. Wiping her feet on the rug, she stepped through the threshold and immediately, her nostrils were assaulted by the smell of pine and lemons.
Roxanne refrained from wrinkling her nose. “Really? Why’s that? Dom getting a bit temperamental?”
Scorpius snorted and shook his head in negation. “No, though I’m sure if you had come any later, she would’ve started stropping about the place.” He chuckled and flashed her a white smile.
This time, she didn’t return it.
Turning his head, Scorpius coughed into his shoulder and clasped his hands together. “Right.”
A thick moment of awkwardness passed between them in which Roxanne began to pick at her cuticles and Scorpius shifted his weight from foot to foot, giving him the appearance of a twitchy alley cat.
“Oh good, you’re here!”
Roxanne breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of her cousin’s voice. Directing her gaze up to the top of the stairs, the blonde bombshell was smiling down at her, barely holding onto the squirming mass that was her son.
“I was beginning think you’d cancelled on us so you could go to that blasted match.”
Roxanne frowned. “You know about that?”
Laughing, Dominique descended the rest of the stairs, all but dumping Ezra onto the floor when she reached the bottom. As expected, he attached himself to Roxanne’s legs, clinging tightly. “In this family, everyone knows about everything.”
She cocked a brow, ignoring Ezra’s incessant tugging on her jeans. “So James told you then?”
“Naturally,” Dominique affirmed, awarding her cousin with a wide grin and a kiss on the cheek in greeting. “Thanks.”
Roxanne staggered to the side as Ezra attempted to climb up her leg. “For what?”
“For doing this,” the blonde continued. “I know you’d much rather be out with James and Teddy -” a twinkle appeared in her cousin’s bright blue eyes “-than watching your godson.”
“Are you kidding? There’s no one I’d rather be with.” She looked down at Ezra and smiled. “Isn’t that right, Ez?”
“Yep, yep, right, right!” the boy chirped, abandoning his attempt to scale his godmother’s leg and focussing his attention on her shoelaces.
Dominique shook her head. “I swear to Merlin, the boy’s got an attention of a gnat.”
“I wonder where he gets it from,” Roxanne mused aloud.
“Hey now,” Scorpius objected, a good-natured smile on his face as he held out his wife’s coat for her. “Easy on the jabs, Rox. Might give ’Ra the impression that you don’t like me.”
From his perch on her feet, Ezra giggled, which made Roxanne smile. The boy may have been young, but he was very smart, very keen. Much like his mother.
“Wouldn’t want to do that,” Roxanne muttered under her breath.
Dominique sent her a disproving look. “We should get going, don’t you think, Scor?” Not bothering to wait for her husband to respond, she turned her attention Roxanne. “Are you going to be okay with him?”
Roxanne rolled her eyes. “Come on now, Dom, I’ve watched Ez a million times.” She looked down at the boy in question and beamed. “Of course we’ll be okay. We’re going to have lots of fun, aren’t we?” She nudged him with the toe of her shoe.
“Yep!” Ezra exclaimed, popping up to his feet. “Woxie said that - that we could play anything we want! Didn’t you?”
“I did,” confirmed Roxanne with a nod.
The boy grinned toothily at her.
Scorpius and Dominique, however, exchanged dark glances. “Good luck with that,” the former said, a pitying look on his face.
Dominique dug her elbow into her husband’s side and rolled her eyes. “Anyway, you know the drill: if anything goes wrong, we’ll be at -”
“I know where you’ll be, Dom,” Roxanne interrupted fluidly, folding her arms over her chest. “You’ve told me at least a dozen times and besides, has anything ever happened when I’ve watched Ezra? No,” she answered for her cousin, “it hasn’t. So go and have a good time, all right?”
Releasing a sigh, Dominique nodded. “All right. But if you need anything - anything at all!”
“I know,” Roxanne stressed. “Just go, will you? Ezra and I have shenanigans to get up to.”
The slender blonde’s eyes widened comically.
“Perfectly harmless shenanigans, mind,” the other tacked on, smiling. “Now go before I kick you out of your own house.”
Scorpius nodded in thanks and took his wife’s arm within his grasp, guiding her towards the fireplace. He pushed her into the grate before stepping in behind her, waving at his son and Roxanne. “See you.”
In a flash of green powder, they disappeared from sight. “Good riddance,” she mumbled quietly. Shaking her head, she stooped down to Ezra’s level, meeting his pale eyes. “Now, are you ready to have some fun?”
“Okay then.” She stood and held out her hand to him. “Let’s go!”
Ezra slapped her hand, surprisingly hard for a boy of his age, grinned, and shouted, “You’re it!” before taking off at breakneck speed down the hall.
Watching as he rounded the corner and disappeared from sight, his laughter echoing off the walls, she expelled a resigned sigh and passed a hand over her face. She was in for a very long night.
- - -
Roxanne was in the middle of stomping about the living room with her arms raised to chest level, her hands curled into what were obviously vicious claws, a snarl on her face, and roaring her displeasure at her prey escaping her yet again when the doorbell rang. She ceased the incessant roaring immediately, her brow furrowing in curiosity. Who would be calling upon the Malfoys’ at this time of night?
Dropping her hands, Roxanne waited until the doorbell rang again before spurring herself into action. As she passed the couch, Ezra sprang out from his hiding spot and latched onto her left leg, shouting, “Victory!” before sinking his teeth into her calf.
“Ouch!” she shouted, nearly toppling over at the unexpected lance of pain. “What are you doing?”
“Killing you,” the boy answered as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. His cute face twisted into a snarl. “I’m a waptor! Wawr!”
The doorbell rang again.
“I didn’t know raptors could talk,” she said as she bent down to pick him up. Hoisting him onto her hip, Roxanne crossed to the door, undoing the latch and the two locks, all the while rolling her eyes at the unnecessary safety precautions.
“I’m a special dinosaur,” Ezra informed her, poking her shoulder with his finger.
“That you are,” she agreed as she undid the last of the locks and opened the door. Expecting a complete stranger, she was taken aback at the familiar face upon which a crooked smile was fixed.
“Teddy!” Ezra shrieked in excitement, all but kicking Roxanne in the ribs as he struggled to break free from her grasp.
Teddy barely caught the boy as he made a suicidal leap towards him. Staggering under the unexpected weight addition, Teddy situated Ezra on his hip, much in the same manner as Roxanne had. Before she could ask just what the hell he was doing on the Malfoys’ doorstep, he focussed his attention on Ezra. “What’s up, little guy?”
“We’re playing dinosaurs!”
“Yeah,” Ezra said, nodding enthusiastically. “Woxie was a bad T-wex and I was a waptor!”
Teddy cast Roxanne a wry look, which made her flush. “A bad T-Rex, huh? I’m sure she was absolutely terrifying.” He grinned, winking.
Roxanne raised a brow in retaliation.
At this, Ezra frowned. “Not weally. She’s not vewy scawy.”
“That can’t be right,” Teddy said with a shake of his head, his eyes still locked on Roxanne’s face. “You must not have made her angry enough. Did you poke her? She doesn’t like being poked.”
The boy shook his head. “Waptors don’t poke - they bite!” To emphasis his point, Ezra let loose a loud roar before promptly sinking his teeth into Teddy’s shoulder. The man in question jumped in surprise, Roxanne struggling to maintain her laughter.
Teddy looked down at Ezra the same time the little boy tilted his chin to look up at the blue-haired man. They exchanged a look, matching grins tugging at their mouths. It didn’t take long for Roxanne to connect the dots, especially not when Teddy turned his gaze back towards her, his moss green eyes glinting mischievously underneath his thicket of blue hair.
She held up a hand, sending the trouble-making pair a stern look. “Don’t you even think about it.”
“Think about what?” Teddy asked as he easily manoeuvred Ezra onto his back.
“Teddy,” Roxanne warned, though she was already backing up.
“Go!” urged Ezra, digging his tiny feet into Teddy’s side as though he was a horse.
Shrieking in barely concealed delight, Roxanne spun and ran as fast as she could in her socks on the slick wooden floor, Teddy and Ezra giving a spirited chase.
- - -
By the time Ezra fell asleep at the kitchen table, half of his face covered with a sticky layer of ice cream, Roxanne was exhausted.
For nearly two and a half hours, the three had played, pretending to be dinosaurs or chasing one another through the house in a seemingly endless game of tag. She had slipped and fallen more times than she cared to admit, her knees and shins bearing the bruises. Muscles she wasn’t even aware she had ached, but as much as she longed to curl up in her bed and sleep, she was stuck here until sometime after midnight, which was when Dominique told her to expect them.
A quick glance at the clock told her there was still three hours left.
Fighting off a yawn, she pushed away from the table and began to collect the dirtied bowls, bringing them over to the sink. Teddy had disappeared into the bathroom to wash out the chunks of chocolate chip ice cream in his hair, which Ezra had smeared all over when Roxanne and Teddy had fallen into conversation pertaining to work and had stopped paying attention to him. Luckily, Teddy was the boy’s only target; Roxanne had managed to escape, if only because she’d jumped up from the table, promising dismemberment if either came within eight feet of her with intentions of smearing ice cream anywhere on her body. It was only when Teddy winked ostentatiously at her as he tickled a shrieking Ezra that she flipped him off.
“I have no idea how he does that,” Teddy commented as he re-entered the kitchen, all traces of ice cream gone from his hair.
Roxanne smiled fondly at the sleeping boy, not wanting to rouse him from his slumber as she knew just how hard it would be to convince him to fall back asleep if he woke up. “It makes you wish it was that easy, huh?”
“It does,” he nodded in agreement. “Need any help?”
Though there wasn’t much to clean up, Roxanne shrugged. “Sure. Two sets of hands are better than one.”
Grinning, Teddy sidled up next to her at the sink and turned on the tap. “So,” he said after a moment, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows, exposing his smoothly muscled forearms. Roxanne swallowed, the temperature of the room spiking suddenly. “Are you going to ask me?”
She frowned, accepting the first of the bowls from him. When his wet and soapy fingers slid over hers, she bit the inside of her lip, praying to Merlin that her ears weren’t bright right as Teddy had discovered that particular quirk a few weeks’ ago. “Ask you what?”
“What I’m doing here.”
“Eh, I’m sure it’s not that interesting of a story,” she said with what she hoped was considerable nonchalance, glancing up at him under the cover of her eyelashes. She smirked at his expression.
He nudged her with his elbow. “Oh, come on. I know you’re curious. You want to know; I know you do.”
Roxanne rolled her eyes, wiping the remnants of water from the bowl and setting it on the rack to dry. “If you knew, why haven’t you told me yet? Seems to me you’re wasting valuable time with preliminaries, Ted.”
“Touche," Teddy chuckled, looking up from his cleaning. “Someone’s feeling a bit cheeky.”
Again, she shrugged, taking the second dish from his hand - and pointedly ignoring the sensation of his slippery skin against her - and wiping it dry. “Are you going to tell me or not?”
“I don’t know if I should as you don’t think it’ll be interesting,” Teddy replied, picking up the last bowl and washing it with the rag. “Seems like it’s be a waste of my time.”
Roxanne laughed. “So now you’re looking for an ego stroke, are you?”
This time it was Teddy’s turn to give a noncommittal shrug. “More or less, yes.” An impish grin sprang onto his face, his blue hair turning even brighter.
She shook her head and kicked him lightly in the shin. “Merlin, you spend too much time around James and Fred.”
“They’re good company.”
“If you say so,” Roxanne said dubiously. Tucking several loose strands of hair behind her ear, she set aside the second bowl, a hand held out to accept the last one. “You need to find someone your own age to hang out with.”
Teddy was quiet for a moment. He handed her the dish before turning to face her, a quizzical furrow marking his brow. Folding his arms over his chest, he said, “I thought I was.”
Heat crept over her neck and spilled onto her cheeks. Keeping her eyes focussed on her work, Roxanne cleared her throat, barely refraining from twitching awkwardly. “That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean?”
“Don’t hang out with my brother,” she responded, dragging the rag along the inside curve of the already-spotless bowl again before setting it aside.
“He’s a twat.”
Not expecting this answer, Teddy laughed loudly, his head thrown back and shoulders shaking with mirth. True, the remark was hardly original and he had heard her make similar statements in the past, but it was the nonchalant way in which the words fell from her lips, the unusually serious expression on her face, that made it so funny. Or at the very least amusing.
Expelling a short breath, Roxanne rolled her eyes. “I’m not joking.”
“I know you’re not,” Teddy responded quickly. “But you’re his sister - you’re inclined to think he’s a twat.”
“Well, he is,” she insisted, mirroring Teddy’s stance and folding her arms over her chest. She leaned against the worktop, staring up at him with challenging eyes.
“And he says you’re a bint who does nothing but whinge,” Teddy retorted, quirking a brow, “and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Completely missing the poorly disguised compliment, Roxanne narrowed her eyes at Teddy as though he was the one who’d originally said the offensive words. “He said that about me?” she growled.
Reluctantly, Teddy nodded, unsure of what fate he was inadvertently commending Fred to. “Er - yeah?”
“The twat,” she grumbled moodily, which caused Teddy to laugh loudly yet again.
“If it helps, he was trashed.”
The look she sent him could’ve cut through glass, so sharp it was. He now understood why Bert had advised him from stepping too roughly on Roxanne’s toes.
“Anyway,” Teddy said after a beat, feeling intensely uncomfortable under the pressure of the awkward silence. “Should we move him upstairs?” He jerked his head at the table behind them, where Ezra slept on soundly.
Roxanne nodded. “That’d probably be a good idea. Wouldn’t want him to wake up with a stiff neck tomorrow.”
They didn’t say much as Teddy cautiously scooped Ezra’s tiny body into his arms and carried him up the stairs, Roxanne right on his heels. She directed him to the correct room and pushed him aside when she changed the boy into his dinosaur-themed pyjamas; Teddy marvelled at the fact Ezra didn’t even stir at being jostled about in such a way.
As he watched from the doorway, Teddy couldn’t help imaging what it would’ve been like if Victoire was in Roxanne’s place and instead of Ezra, it was their child sleeping like the dead. It had been a long time since he had allowed himself to slip into the daydreams of old, and if the dull ache edging his heart was anything to go by, he knew the reason why. Though it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it used to, the pain was still there, still accessible if he let his mind wander.
So deeply submerged in his wandering Teddy was, he didn’t even realise that Roxanne had tucked Ezra into bed until she was standing in front of him, one hand on the doorknob in preparation to close the door. He jerked involuntary at their closeness, the heat of her body effectively snapping him out of his contemplations; it was pointless to dwell on the past, anyway, he reminded himself as he stared down at her.
In the faint light of the hall, her features were shrouded by long slats of grey shadows, but even then, it did little to take away from how pretty she was. True, she wasn’t a conventional beauty, what with her flat brown eyes and perpetually messy hair, but he supposed that was made her so appealing to him - the organised disarray that was Roxanne.
Perhaps it was also the reason why he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers in a soft kiss. Or maybe it was the soft lighting or the situation itself or the fact he was sick and tired of feeling that wretched loneliness in the pit of his stomach. Regardless of his reason, somewhere deep down, he knew this was right. Or perhaps it was so wrong that it felt right.
It didn’t really matter to him, but her lack of response did.
She was very still under the pressure of his lips, and didn’t reciprocate his kiss. Worried he had crossed the line too soon, Teddy made to move back, but the sudden lift of his lips from her mouth seemed to spur Roxanne into action. She stepped towards him, closing the distance between their bodies, and pushed up onto her tiptoes, one hand resting on his chest for purchase.
Her lips were incredibly soft and warm and everything he’d imagined they would be as she returned his kiss, her hand sliding up towards his neck and wrapping around it. Teddy snaked his own arm around her waist, his fingertips brushing the small of her back, and pressed her into the doorjamb, their bodies aligned front to front. Once her shoulders connected with the wall, she cupped his cheek and tilted her head back, allowing him better access to her mouth. When he dragged the tip of his tongue along her bottom lip, she let out a low moan, her fingers grasping onto the tendrils of once-blue-but-now-sandy-brown hair at the nape of his neck.
Teddy would have continued kissing her until the sun came up or went down or whatever other spectacular phenomenon could and probably would occur if she continued moving her lips in such a manner, but the sound of the front door opening severed the electric connection - that peculiar electrical twist between them. As if remembering herself, Roxanne dropped her hands from his face to place them on his chest, giving a forceful push.
“W-we can’t,” she panted, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Bowing her head in embarrassment, she slithered out from under the weight of his body and hurried down the hall, Teddy, in a daze, staring after her.
A/N: And there you have it! Sorry for the somewhat long wait. I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you know what to do!
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