Chapter 1 : Will you?
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“Were hearts made whole just to break?” – Porcelain Heart, by BarlowGirl
Lily surveyed the crowd with a less than enthusiastic attitude. It seemed as if every single person here was laughing and chatting happily. Champagne flowed around the room, witches in pastel colours giggling as they sipped the bubbling drink. Wizards in their finest dress robes flirting with the pretty witches and slapping each other on the back. Across the room, from her corner, Lily could see also the dance floor. A small band played smooth jazzy tunes and couples swayed about the floor, smiling at one another. In the centre of the group the bride in all white and her impeccably dressed groom swayed gently back and forth, barely moving, foreheads together as they danced. They smiled at one another, caught up in their own little world. Lily could see everyone that passed them smiling tenderly. She could just hear the ‘ahhs’ that any story involving this night would involve.
She knocked back another glass of champagne and glared at the empty flute. Where the hell was the real alcohol when she needed it? Signalling a passing waiter, she grabbed two more flutes. Glaring at the dubious look her gave her, causing him to scuttle away quickly. Sitting back in her chair, Lily crossed one arm over her stomach and leaned back in her chair, drinking the first glass quickly. One long limb was swinging impatiently back and forth, crossed over her opposite knee. She hated weddings.
“I fucking hate weddings.” She grumbled under her breath. As happy as she was that Dominique and Char had finally gotten their shit together and gotten married, she really did not want to be here.
“Hey Lily.” A soft voice drew her eyes upward. Lysander Scamander was settling into the chair to her left.
“What the hell do you want?” She demanded irritably.
“Can’t an old friend come and say hello?” He gave her an innocent look and leaned his elbow on the table, looking at her. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she finally shrugged before going back to staring at the bottom of her empty glass.
“I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
Lily snorted. “Knew you had ulterior motives.” Sitting forward suddenly she traded her empty glass for the full one and took a long drink. With both of her elbows on the table, she looked sideways at Lysander. “I’m fine, if you must know.”
“You don’t look fine.” He frowned at the glasses littering the table. “Are all of these yours?”
“Oh shut up, Lysander. It’s really none of your business.” Lily finished off the glass of champagne and sat back again. Her right hand stayed on the table, one finger tapping impatiently as she looked around the room without really seeing. Anything to avoid the knowing, pitying, look that Lysander was giving her.
“Lily.” His voice was soft, asking her to look at him. “Lily, please?”
“What?” She snapped, still refusing to look at him.
“You need to work this out. Please? Just talk to me?” Lily whipped around to look at him, her green eyes snapping with anger and frustration. The curls she’d carefully arranged that morning were coming down with the evening.
“About what, Sander? There is nothing to talk about, okay?”
“Lily.” His tone was gentle, his eyes full of sadness. Sad that she was so broken, sad that she felt so much pain, and sad that there was nothing he could do to fix it. Merlin knew he’d tried. So many times. They’d been friends since they were babies, and he hated to see her hurting like this.
“Lily, please. It’s been six months.” Her eyes were furious when she rounded on him.
“I know how long it’s been. Now piss off, I want to go home.” She stood, swaying for a moment before stalking off. Lysander sighed in defeat and grabbed a drink from a passing waiter. There was only so much he could do for his hurting friend.
Waving an annoyed hand at Lysander, Lily ignored him, searching the crowd for her elder brother. As soon as she was sober, she was going to kick him. Just now, she didn’t think she would do a proper job it. Probably fall over.
“Fuck!” Lily cursed loudly, stumbling over a chair leg. The people at the table, all guests of Scorpius’ side she would guess, gave her disapproving looks. Ignoring them, she continued on, drunkenly weaving between people, mumbling excuses as she ran into most of them. She spotted a head of black hair ahead and tried to pick up her wobbly pace a bit, sure it was either Albus or her father. Either one would do. So intent was she on her goal, she didn’t see the tall, good looking man with light brown hair until she ran into him.
“Sorry, sorry.” She mumbled, doing her best to get around him. When she found herself caught by two strong hands she frowned.
“Lily?” All movement stopped, and she was sure that every sound in the room had grown silent. In truth no one had even yet noticed her plight, but for her the world had frozen. With trepidation, she slowly raised her gaze to meet his. Light blue eyes looked back at her, a good four inches higher than her own, and she was wearing high heels. Even as he spoke, she knew who it would be. That smell, it hadn’t changed in all her memory. Musky, subtle and sexy with just a hint of wildness to it. It enveloped all her senses and for a moment she was lost. She remembered when being lost in that scent had comforted her, when those blue eyes had gazed at hers until she didn’t remember her own name but only his. Now it made her heart beat faster, not with lust or longing but with fear and bitter pain.
“Lorcan.” Her breath abandoned her lungs, leaving her gasping. Poorly behaved before, her hair now seemed wilder, coming out of its pins and falling over her shoulders. An errant thought reminded her that he’d always liked her hair down, unbound. He hated her in black though, and she was the only one there wearing it.
“Are you okay?” His question brought her back to her senses and Lily glared up at him, wrenching her arms from his grip.
“I’m fine.” She bit out the words and turned to walk away from him. The victorious move was only slightly ruined by the wobble in her step. Head held high, she started moving again. She’d lost sight of Albus, or her father, whichever it was, but right then she didn’t care. More than anything she had to get away from him. She had only made it half a dozen steps, however, before a hand closed about her elbow once more.
“Lily! Hold on for just a second.” She whirled around to face him. He wore an easy grin on his face. As if he hadn’t decided to break up with her six months ago, after three years together and a lifetime of loving him. As if he hadn’t walked out and hadn’t been back since. As if he hadn’t shattered her heart and then left her alone.
“What do you want?” She hissed.
“Just wanted to make sure you were okay, you nearly fell there.”
He held his palms out in surrender. “Okay, okay, just checking. How are you Lily? It’s been awhile.”
“Six months.” She bit out. “It’s been six months. Now leave me alone.” He reached out again, as if to grab her once more, but she jerked her arm away.
“What’s with you tonight, Lils?”
“Don’t call me that, Lorcan. You know I don’t like having my name shortened.”
“What? I’ve always called you that?”
“You lost your right to six months ago, Lorcan Scamander.” He frowned as he looked down at the raging red head.
“What is with you tonight, Lily?”
Lily gaped at him a moment before answering. “What’s with me? What the fuck is wrong with you? You are such a prick, Lorcan!”
“You walked out on me six months ago Lorcan. You didn’t go off on a jaunt for a few days, you left me. You broke up with me, telling me you couldn’t be bothered with a girlfriend and that it wasn’t really going anywhere anyway. Then you walked out the door and I haven’t heard one single word from you in all this time. What did you expect?”
“But Lils – Lily – I thought we left it on pretty good terms.”
Lily just shook her head in exasperation, losing all desire to fight with him. “Whatever Lorcan. Fine, we’re fine. Just leave me the fuck alone and we’re fine. Okay?” Once again, she left a Scamander in her dust. Lorcan stood staring after her, his hand partially extended in her direction. Lily left without looking back.
She did her best to smile when Teddy made his way toward her. “Hey Lily, dance with me.”
“Oh, Teddy. You know I can’t dance.”
“Rose says I can’t either. Humour me.” Lily gave him a wobbly smile and let him lead her out onto the dance floor. A slow song was playing and they moved slowly around the floor. Over his shoulder, Lily could see Rose, Teddy’s wife of one year. The thought of them made her smile a little. Rose and Teddy had led each other on quite a chase before finally realizing they were madly in love. Their wedding had been beautiful, Lily had been a bridesmaid.
“You okay, sweetie?” Ever the older brother. Lily nodded, one tear escaping the corner of her eye. Teddy watched her shrewdly but let it go. “Okay.”
Lily could see the newlyweds from her vantage point. Char reached over and wiped frosting from Dominique’s lip, then leaned over and gave her a soft kiss. People around them ahh’d and a camera flashed. To Dominique’s left, her best friend, cousin, and maid of honour, Molly, was talking to her own husband. Lily closed her eyes to all of the love she saw around her. Sometimes, it just wasn’t fair.
Lorcan had asked her out when she was eighteen and he twenty. They’d known each other forever, it seemed, but until then he’d never seen her in that way. Their romance grew quickly though, and when she was twenty, they moved into a flat together. Their parents were as happy as could be at the thought of their children in love. Of sharing grandchildren. They hadn’t been this excited since Albus had started dating Lena Longbottom in sixth year. Who he was now engaged to. Lily let out a big sigh.
Life with Lorcan had seemed like heaven. He was her best friend and her lover. She couldn’t wait to go home at night and see him. To cook him his favourite dish and share stories of their days apart. They had entertained together, having groups of friends over, even their parents a few times. Lily thought everything was perfect. She thought it was just a matter of time until he decided to propose. Here she was now, twenty-three, ring-less, and alone.
“Something you want to talk about?” Lysander came upon his twin brother brooding in the corner opposite where Lily had been. Lorcan spared only a fleeting glance for his look alike.
“No.” He said shortly. Lorcan grimaced as he tossed back another glass of champagne. “Don’t they have better shit than this here? It’s Dominique for Christ’s sake.”
“I doubt Dominique cares to drink anyone under the table at her wedding. Now, tell me what’s up?”
Lorcan scowled at his tenacious brother. He knew he’d have to give in eventually though. “Ran into Lily.”
“Oh. And how did that go?”
“She was quite the bint, I’ll tell you that.” Lorcan grumbled.
“What did you say?”
“Me?! Why does this have to be my fault?” Lysander simply sat back in his chair and folded his arms, one eyebrow raised at his brother. Lorcan’s scowl grew darker. “Wasn’t just me.”
“No. But she didn’t do anything wrong. Why, Lorcan? I still don’t understand why. You had a perfect girl, she loved you, was crazy about you. And you threw it all away.”
“I wasn’t ready to get married.”
“I didn’t say anything about that.”
“Yeah, but everyone expected it. Christ, we’d been together four years. I started to expect it and I didn’t even want to get married.”
“Ah. That’s it then? You didn’t want to get married yet, so you just left her?” Lorcan dropped his head into his hands, not even bothering to answer. “You’re an asshole, Lorcan.”
Lysander looked at his brother, surprised, but knowing he’d deserved it. “What do I do? I love her, Sander.”
Lysander shrugged. “Not much you can do. You fucked up, brother. She’s hurting bad, and it’s your fault. You broke her heart and lost her trust. Not much to do.” Lorcan scowled some more. “It’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.”
“I’ll do whatever I have to. I love her. I really do.”
“And you threw it all away.”
“I lost it, Sander. I just lost it. I saw her standing there, happy and looking so domestic and I could see the future. Us, in our little house with a white picket fence and a dog. It’s the exact opposite of everything I ever wanted.”
“What did she want? What makes you think that’s what she wanted?” Lorcan gave him a blank look and Lysander snorted in disgust. “You never even talked to her about it, did you? You just assumed she wanted a ring and wedding and a suburban life. You fucking dickhead.”
“Help me, Sander. Help me.”
Lysander shrugged and grabbed a bottle of wine from a passing waiter. “Not sure what I can do. I’m not going to beg for you. I want her to get over you and move on. I hate seeing her hurt like this. Especially knowing it was my flesh and blood that did it to her.”
“Stop it, just stop it.”
“Stop telling you the truth? Don’t ask me to lie to you Lorcan, because I won’t. You fucked up your life and hers, and you’ve got to deal with that fact.”
As if the devil had taken him, Lorcan suddenly stood, his chair clattering to the floor. Lysander gave him an amused look as he stormed away. Casually, he stood and moved to where he’d have a good vantage point of what was about to happen. He knew his brother. Knew he’d been hurting these last few months as well. Lorcan was a fool, but not stupid. Once he had something in his mind, he wasn’t going to let it go. Across the room, Lysander could see Lily smiling as her dance with Teddy came to an end.
“You sure you’re okay Lily?”
“Lily, I need to talk to you.” She stiffened when she heard the voice behind her. Teddy’s eyebrows shot toward the roof and he didn’t look pleased.
Lily turned toward the man who’d broken her heart. “What do you want Lorcan?” Most of the guests were watching them then, and her face was flaming.
“I want to marry you.” Everyone in the room was paying attention.
“No you don’t.”
“Yes, I do.” He seemed to notice the large audience then and strode forward. He took her hand before she could protest, towering over her. He had to bend his head to look her in the eye. His blue eyes were earnest and her heart skipped a beat.
“I’m an asshole, Lily. I got scared and I ran. But I love you, I’m fucking crazy about you Lily Luna Potter. I want to marry you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Lorcan I – “
“No, don’t answer now.” He interrupted.
“You didn’t actually ask me yet.”
“I know. I have to make this up to you. I want to win you all over again. I want to love you from now until we die and ever after that. I want to be with you always. To make love to you, to build a home with you, to raise children with you. I want you – us – forever.” He sank to one knee before everyone. “Lily Potter, will you marry me?”
Lily could only stare at him. He had never acted this... desperate, before. His heart was in his eyes. She felt all her love for him surge through her. She remembered every time he’d ever said he’d loved her. Every kiss, every touch. At the same time, she remembered him walking away. Breaking her heart and leaving her desolate. She pulled her hand from his and stepped away.
“I can’t, Lorcan. I can’t promise to marry you. Not now.”
Lorcan felt his heart break, and Lily could see it in his eyes. He grew hot with embarrassment, but mostly he just hurt. Is this how she’d felt when he’d walked away? He felt ashamed. Slowly, Lily’s eyes still on him, Lorcan rose to his feet.
“I don’t trust you anymore, Lorcan. You have to earn it all back. I won’t marry you.”
“Can I earn it all back?” Lily looked at him, eyes narrowed. She looked over her shoulder, where her family stood watching. Her mother smiled, her father looked ready to deck Lorcan.
“You may take me out to dinner. Pick me up at my parents, seven o’clock next Friday. Don’t be late.”