Chapter Six: Goodbye Apathy
New character, Benny.
I knock on Vic’s (Vic’s boyfriend’s?) apartment door after meeting with Teddy. Its properly lite outside now, and the noise of congestion and heat has risen to its highest. I can already feel the sweat underneath my arm, which is not surprising considering that I haven’t returned home since running out of my flat this morning. This means I still smell like sex from last night, drugs and alcohol from Garland’s place, and smoke now from Teddy.
The door swings open to reveal a fresh faced Vic. How is she still glowing? I bet she’s pregnant.
Or she’s had a shower.
“Dom! What a surprise! Come on in, I have lots to tell you,” Vic beams, leaving me to follow after her as she rushes to her coffee table.
I should say tea table, since that’s all she drinks.
“Oh Merlin, Dom you stink!”
“Thanks,” I answer dryly. “Where’s Ben?”
“He’s still sleeping. Gosh he’s so cute I just couldn't wake him. What’s the flowers for? They’re so brightly colored”
“Brilliant aren’t they? They’re for the flat. Let me just send them along before they wilt; I’ve had them with me for most of the damn morning,” I say, going to the window and tying the flowers to Vic’s owl. “Got any spare parchment?”
“By the desk pad. And were you doing errands this morning?” she says, slowly looking up and down my barely clothed body.
I leaf through the organized mess of the desk, finally finding the parchment and a quill. “You could say that. Does this news have anything do with Allura’s wedding?”
“Ah, so Louis told you?” she asks, sitting on the beige-colored sofa.
“Mmhm. When are we leaving?”
“Fortnight, I take it Teddy’s coming?”
“You sound like you don’t want him to come...”
“Well it’s just Paris is the city of love, my best friend being there-”
“He’s not just your friend Vic, don’t be a snob because you’re bringing Ben,” I snap, scrawling a note to Bobby. I tell him the flowers are from me, to put them in a vase and that everything is alright with me and Teddy. I expect to see him for dinner since he’s been smoking in his apartment and Beatrice probably kicked him out by now.
“Sorry, you’re right,” Vic says solemnly. That makes me angrier. Why can’t she be a bitch for more than 30 seconds? I manage to do it 24/7, easily.
“It’s fine,” I say, forgiving her easily. That is something else I hate about myself. “You look down. What’s wrong? You’re going to France to see Allura! You’re going to France with Ben, the love of your life!”
Vic pours her a cup of tea from the painted porcelain kettle resting atop the table. Sighing, she motions me to sit next to her. I sink into the soft, clean sofa.
“Dom I have something to tell you that even Ben doesn’t know about.” I wait a second. In a hushed voice she says nervously, “I lost my job a week ago. When we moved in I insisted we split the rent and now it’s due! I know he has enough money to pay this on his own but I feel bad about it, Dom. I need a new job and nowhere is hiring. The rent’s expensive and I forgot about France this summer until Allura’s wedding invitation came. Dom! I can’t afford
to go to France, let alone live in London anymore!”
I look at her tear-stained face and scoot closer, rubbing her back. “Vic, don’t worry. Everything will be fine. It always is for you. When is the rent money due?”
“Tomorrow,” she sniffs.
“Well, he allows me to pay about $600 in Muggle money.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll pay for your rent if you really don’t want Ben to know.” I’m okay with keeping things from boyfriends. This is Vic’s personal business and doesn’t involve Ben.
“Dom, I can’t let-” Vic says, grabbing my wrist
“Don’t be stupid Vic. We’re sisters and you’ve helped me about before. It’s nothing.”
“How can you afford to have that much money with that job you have at the Ministry? I mean no offense Dom, but they would pay you in WWW joke toys if they could.”
“I know,” I say seriously, “And don’t tell anyone
this including Teddy; I work a second job,” I whisper.
“Oh, Dom! Where do you find the time?”
I shrug, “It’s no big deal; it’s just this dinner gig. I have a shift from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. so no one really knows. I just sneak out and go to work and come back before anyone’s up. Though I have to be careful to avoid Bobby since he’s always up in the mornings running places.”
“Dom, you work so hard for this money! I feel bad, but it’s no use anyway. I can’t afford to go to France anymore and Ben will find out in two weeks! I already told him about the trip and he’s really excited.”
“I know portkeys are so expensive these days but two weeks is enough time to get money for France,” I say.
“How? I can’t even find a job!” Vic wails.
I shush her, looking at the hallway leading to the bedroom where Ben is sleeping. I continue, “I can get you one at my dinner. It doesn’t pay much, but if you save up it’ll be fine. You can make a lot of money on late-night tips.”
She squeals, throwing her arms around me, “Ah! Thank you Dom! Thank you! THANK YOU! You’re the best sister ever and I’ll never forget this.”
My face is smushed in Vic’s golden locks that smell of vanilla spice. “Just show up tonight at ten. It’s across from the old flower shop by Garland’s place.”
She stops hugging me and I see her wrinkle her nose. Merlin, what have I got myself into?
I am, yet again, kicked out of my own apartment.
Looking at a small clock in a window store I decide that I have some time to kill before going to dinner at Dom’s.
I walk down the crowded street, the sun showing little sign of setting despite the late hour. Moving past people I reach into my pocket for a fag.
I ruffle my jeans, only dressed in them and a T-shirt. Dom still has my jacket but it would be useless in this heat anyway.
“Teddy Lupin! Four years later you’re still losing things!”
I look up from my search to see the most familiar blue eyes. I would know those eyes anywhere - even half drunk.
Benny stands there in jeans and low-cut dark blue top. She looks just the same as she did when we first met: long black hair, pale skin, pink lips and those eyes.
Benny is like ice. There’s no way better to put it. She’s heartless, cold, and wonderful. It’s refreshing every time I see her. Ah, I missed her.
“Beau, it’s been too long,” she says, smirking at me.
“Really? It seems like yesterday we had out Casablanca goodbyes.”
“I’m still waiting for our Philadelphia story ending.”
Memories of us lying down and watching old movies together, something we both loved, come back slowly.
It feels like a hundred years ago that I dated Benny. Actually it was just four years ago that we were both seventeen and had our lives on the road to success. Then she left.
“Benny, what are you doing here?”
“Heading to Diagon Alley. You should come with me.”
“I haven’t been there in ages.”
“Even better a reason to.”
I follow her as she starts walking and she levels up beside me. She always loved walking. She used to say one could never see the world by Apparating or driving.
“What were you looking for?”
“A light,” I answer honestly
“You smoke, huh?”
“Nah, was just about to light myself on fire.”
“Missed your jokes, Teddy. I missed you.”
“Didn’t you miss me a bit? I guess not, what with you being all successful and whatnot. How’s the Auror business?”
“I never became an Auror and I didn’t miss you none. I pushed what we had out of my mind. Last time I saw you was the last time I thought I would ever see you again.
“That’s sad,” she said, but she didn’t look sad.
“How was Florence? I hope you found yourself.”
“Among other things,” she says, mysteriously. She’s always mysterious.
“What’s an ambassador doing here then?” I was hoping she said she never became an ambassador.
“Once every four years we get vacation.”
“Funny. What’s Diagon Alley got for you?”
“Ice cream. What got you into smoking?”
I shrug, “Dom, among other things.”
“Don’t tell me you’re still around those Delacour girls.”
“I’m here for three weeks.”
“Looking up anyone?”
“Whoever wants to see me after how I left.”
“Your list is going to be mighty short then.”
“I hope you’re on it.”
I pause, “Maybe.”
“What are you doing tonight, Ted? Let’s go somewhere glamorous like we used to and pretend we’re rich.”
“That’s when I thought I was going to be rich.”
“I accept whatever life throws me.”
“What if life threw me at you?”
“I’d throw you right back.”
“Where are you going tonight, Ted? Welcome me back with a grand drink.”
I never wanted a smoke more than I did now, “You left me high and dry, Benny.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, not looking the least bit sorry.
“You hurt me bad. Everyone thought we were going to get married, be successful together. Have children by now.”
“How do you feel about this now?”
“A Little stupid looking back about how naive I was about love. I didn’t know love. I still don’t. But what I do know is that we never had it.”
“Let’s start something new.”
“I missed you, Ted. Don’t make this cold heart say it again.”
“Missed me so much that it took you four years to come back?”
“Who are you in love with now, Ted?”
“She’s out of my league.”
“I am too, yet here I am.”
“About time you came out of that shower.”
“Shut it Bobby, I’ve been through hell today.”
“Well good thing I made some Italian. You love Italian,” he says, smiling down, his tight polo stretching as he puts the bowl of pasta on the unfinished, wooden table.
“Someone looks nice - too nice,” LJ says, suspiciously. Her black-on-black is gone and replaced with dark blue shorts and white tee.
“Just a sun dress, guys.”
They raise their eye brows at each other.
“So is France a yes?” Bobby asks.
“Teddy going?” LJ asks.
“He’s always everywhere I go.”
“Where’s the wedding?” Bobby asks, getting the wine while LJ gets the glasses.
“Damn, how rich is this bitch?”Bobby asks, popping the wine open and pouring the three glasses.
“Teddy’s coming to dinner too,” I inform LJ, who rolls her eyes and gets another glass. “Oh she’s rich, but they live in Paris. That’s how Vic and she met. According to Vic, she wanted some ‘fresh air away from the city.’ Imagine leaving the most romantic city to have your wedding.”
“How’s Versailles?” asks LJ, setting the fourth glass on the table.
“Versailles,” starts Bobby in a dignified voice “is one of the richest suburbs of Paris, and beautiful. Rich forests, roaring greens, brilliant architecture-”
“Thank you Travel Channel,” LJ interrupts Bobby’s passionate speech.
I laugh, “Anyway, it’s a while away and I need to save up, which means extra hours working-”
“-and no partying,” Bobby says.
“And no partying,” I agree, sadly.
“How's Teddy affording this?” LJ asks, pushing her dark hair out of her eyes and sitting down.
“Dunno, but he won’t miss Paris for anything.”
“Really?” LJ asks.
“Really, I mean what’s more important to him than Vic?”
“You mean who’s more important to him than Vic,” Bobby corrects my grammar.
“No one is,” I answer, ignoring Bobby.
“You never know with Teddy. All I’m saying is if he’s not getting through that fireplace to Versailles, I am.”
a/n: quick update, because I can't bare letting you guys not know any longer.
So France...in two weeks. Lots can happen then, especially with old mysterious flames. What do you think? :)