Chapter 12 : Missing Her
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“And you will go to Mykonos with a vision of a gentle coast, and a sun to maybe dissipate shadows of the mess you made.”
The slow steady beating of his heart echoed in the hollowness that threatened to consume him. The noise seemed to bounce off the walls of his pain and reverberate in his ears and out towards the room, so loud that Teddy wondered how his traveling companions could possibly sleep. He couldn’t. The noise was too loud; the hurt was too extensive.
There it was again, that thump, thump, thump. It echoed through the silent hotel room. Never ending, never stopping, always going, going, going. He wished he didn’t have a heart. He’d gladly give the entire contraption up if it would stop the noise and let him sleep.
What a fantasy, a fairy tale! Sleep was his dream now.
But, at least, he didn’t have nightmares anymore. How could he when his eyes wouldn’t close and his mind wouldn’t stop thinking, remembering, regretting?
It shouldn’t be this painful! That’s what he told himself on an almost hourly basis. His heart shouldn’t ache this way. Regret shouldn’t tear at his insides until he was nauseous with the churning. Memory shouldn’t sting so bad that his eyes were constantly red and burning. Loss shouldn’t weigh so heavy on his limbs, and sadness shouldn’t fill him up so that he felt like his head might explode with all the pain. What a mess he’d become, and how he hated himself for it.
He couldn’t change his hair anymore, no matter how hard he tried. It wouldn’t happen. Sickly looking and sandy haired, Teddy thought he had never looked more like his father.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
There it was again, that slow, steady beating. Never stopping, never ceasing, always going, going, going.
The idea was to stay away from England long enough to avoid torturous weeks waiting for the results of their N.E.W.Ts.
The reality was that there was only one way that four eighteen-year old boys could afford this. Four blokes. One hotel room. Two beds, a cot, and a floor. There was only one fair and objective way to determine who got to sleep where.
Teddy touched his finger to his nose and waited. He looked at Brian, who also had his finger on his nose and they exchanged a silent smirk. Dex huffed impatiently and rolled his eyes, with his finger to his nose of course.
“No beer,” Lawrence called, with his head stuck inside the half-sized refrigerator. He shut the door, and headed over to the window to look outside completing what the other boy’s had quickly found out was his ritual. Every time they entered a hotel room, Lawrence would drop his bags by the door (causing at least one of them to trip), followed by the immediate removal of his shoes (Brian hated this as he was “sensitive to smells”), before checking the fridge and gazing out the window.
While sharing one hotel room between the four of them quartered the cost of their room expense for each, it did have its uncomfortable moments. The most memorable being in Barcelona, when they had accidentally booked a single bed room instead of a room with two beds. Teddy had volunteered to sleep on the floor that night, and poor Lawrence and Brian had shared the bed, sleeping head to foot. According to Brian, Lawrence hadn't exactly smelled like a botanical garden and he kicked a lot.
“Oi, Chadwick!” Dex finally called out in impatience.
Finally, Lawrence turned around to look at the three of them.
He stared at them, clearly confused by their desire for his attention. He caught on soon enough, his face displaying the shock of realization, embarrassment and then finally anger.
The other three boys began sniggering, removing their fingers from their noses. A quick series of coin tosses determined which two got the beds, and who got the cot, while Lawrence fumed in the chair by the window.
“I hate you all,” he mumbled, “fucking arseholes.”
“Oh, come off it,” Dexter replied, making a show of settling into the pillows of his bed, “we told you that we were going to determine who got to sleep where when we checked-in. It’s your fault if you don’t pay attention.”
“Whatever,” Lawrence continued to mutter, “I just don’t see how its very fair is all, considering Teddy doesn’t even sleep.”
Teddy's face darkened at the comment as Brian hit Lawrence upside the head.
“One for me too, Brian,” Dexter called from the other side of the room. Brian slapped Lawrence once more.
"Leave him alone." Brian said. "You don't have to be a total berk just because you don’t pay attention."
"Teddy likes to mope in comfort," Dexter added, shooting Teddy a significant look.
Teddy sighed inwardly. He had moped all through France, and Spain, and even in Portugal. He had attempted to get out of visiting the small Wizarding village that surrounded Beauxbatons because Victoire's mother had gone there, but the boys wouldn't let him. Now, that they were in Italy, Dex was becoming short on patience. Teddy knew that Dexter wasn't unsympathetic to his plight (though, Dex being Dex it was plausible), just that he wanted someone to go out with to live up the nightlife every night, and Teddy was his best option for wing man. Brian had Chrys and often called attention of the girls to himself because he was sweet and “really loved his girlfriend”. Lawrence was a model example of a socially awkward teenage boy and would more often than not drive any potential girls away. So, Teddy, who to his misery, was single and also perfectly capable of holding a conversation with a girl, was Dexter's best and only option.
Dexter also thought Teddy's recently developed insomnia was just another attribute to his qualifications list since he wouldn't complain about missing out on his sleep.
Teddy had given in and gone out with Dexter once, but had sat at the bar the entire time nursing one drink and ignoring every girl that looked at either him or Dex. After that, Dexter had gone out alone a couple of times before finally just deciding to stay in with the rest of them.
This was logical as the one time Dexter had convinced a girl to come back with him had ended up being quite disastrous. He had come bursting in through the door backwards, a dark-haired girl grasping his shoulder and snogging him as though he were water in the Sahara. Dex and his new friend stumbled backwards and fell onto a bed, the bed that Brian happened to be sitting up in using his wand to trim his toenails. He exchanged a surprised look with Teddy, sitting up in the other bed reading, as he jumped out of the way. Lawrence looked on, too stunned to continue with his investigation of the Muggle television. Teddy quickly slipped his shoes on and headed for the door, Brian following him. They had just gotten into the corridor when they realized Lawrence wasn’t with them.
A piercing shriek sounded from their room, followed by the sound of Dexter’s angry shouting. Brian and Teddy winced before bursting into laughter as the girl ran by them, looking furious. It had been the first time Teddy had laughed in weeks.
"That's it," Dexter announced darkly, determination in his dark eyes. "I’m sick of hanging out with blokes constantly. I'm going out, and you're all coming with me, so that way I have an empty hotel room to bring her back to."
Teddy, Brian, and Lawrence made a mumbled dissent, but there was no fighting with Dexter when he wanted someone out of his way. So, they got dressed, asked the concierge for a recommendation, and they went out.
“I like this music, yeah? How 'bout you?”
Lawrence shouted over the thumping bass at the waitress who was setting down their drinks. She shot him a withering look, turning her nose up at him as though he were something rotten and stalked away.
Dexter glared at him, while Brian bit back his smile as he sipped on something called a Cherry Blossom that had bits of fruit sticking out of the top. Dexter glared at that, too. Teddy stared into his beer as though it held the answers to all life’s problems, or maybe he was considering drowning himself in it. It was hard to tell. He was so wrapped up in it at any rate, that he didn’t even care that Dexter was now glaring at him.
“Teddy,” he hissed angrily, leaning across Brian to speak to him. “Girls do not find the sad horse face attractive. Now, I came out here to find you a fit girl—“
Brian and Lawrence each scoffed at the blatant lie. Everyone knew that Dex was out here for himself.
“— so could you at least try not to mope tonight?”
Teddy eyed him wearily, Dexter raised an eyebrow.
Teddy sighed. Dexter raised his eyebrow higher. Brian merely looked uncomfortable as Dexter was still leaning across him, his hands in the air holding up his drink.
“Whatever,” Teddy finally replied and forced a smile onto his face.
“Good boy,” Dexter said in a belittling tone and went back to his side of the half-moon booth.
“You arse,” Brian said, fishing a chunk of pineapple from his drink, “he’s heartbroken, let him be.”
“Right,” Dexter argued, “which is exactly why we need to find him a distraction.” He winked at Teddy before eyeing the room for “this distraction”.
It took longer than he had expected to find a distraction. Teddy could tell that Dexter was displeased with the lack of readily available girls, as his smile grew more forced by the minute. He didn’t really care either way; Dexter could find him another girl to flirt with but she still wouldn’t be Victoire.
To hide the pain that thinking of Victoire brought, Teddy downed his beer. He caught the end of the joke that Brian was making, and Teddy even managed to laugh. Dexter made a follow-up comment to Brian’s joke, and that time Teddy let out a genuine guffaw choking a little on the dregs of his glass.
Brian and Lawrence looked at him surprise. Dex looked like Christmas had come early.
“What?” Teddy asked them defensively,”it was funny.”
“And productive,” Dexter elaborated, and with a slight tilt of his head indicated the group of girls whose attention was caught by the boys’ laughter.
The five girls eyed them skeptically, leaning over to whisper to each other and giggling. Dexter smiled, but Lawrence looked uncomfortable, as though he were genuinely worried about what the girls might be saying about him, what harsh judgements they might be passing. Teddy really couldn’t blame him. It was a bit nerve-wracking, actually. Vividly, he recalled the night of the concert with Victoire and the girls who had whispered about him on the train. That kind of behavior was easier to digest when he was in the company of Victoire, but now he found that he desperately wanted them to be saying positive things about him.
It was true that Teddy has always cared a great deal of what close companions thought of him, but not much for strangers or those he didn’t like. This was an altogether new experience, and he didn’t like the feeling of his sweaty palms and tense jaw.
Dexter for his part ignored the girls and focused on carrying on the conversation. Teddy took this as an indication he should do the same, and told an old joke about a Warlock, a newt, and a flying car that he was pretty sure he had told his friends before. Obligingly, they laughed, and Dexter quickly suppressed a victorious smirk as the group of girls made their way over to their table.
“You are English, yes?” A curly black-haired girl said in a confident tone and without greeting. Teddy assumed that she must be the leader of the group as she was certainly the most brazen of the five if only the second prettiest. The prettiest, in fact, was a little bit quieter and a little bit shorter than the girl who had spoken, but had a lovely smile that Teddy liked.
“We are,” Dex replied with equal confidence, “Was it the accents that gave us away?.”
The girls laughed together as a group, which left Teddy rather impressed with their ability to synchronize.
“No,” the leader replied, a teasing grin on her face, “but you are so…how do you say, pale?”
Dexter’s smile faltered a bit at her comment. Teddy, however, thought it was funny and snorted into his disappointingly empty glass. The prettiest girl turned her attention on Teddy, looking him up and down before asking, “Dance with me?” She asked, though it sounded a bit like a demand.
Teddy felt his smile falter.
The way she asked him to dance reminded him so much of Victoire at the concert. He could feel the tug on his hand, her voice barely audible over the music as she shouted “Dance with me!”
“No, no thank you,” he replied quietly, ignoring the gaping looks on the faces of his mates.
The girl looked offended, and her emotion seemed to through her group. The leader crossed her arms across her chest, and led the gaggle away with a huff and a haughty strut.
Dexter gave Teddy the death glare. “What the hell was that?”
Teddy shrugged. “I just didn’t feel like it.”
“Didn’t feel like it? “ He replied, critically eyeing his friend. “You’re thinking about Victoire again, aren’t you?”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Dex mumbled under his breath, “What did she do to you? Shag you and leave without saying goodbye?”
Lawrence snickered from across the table, as Teddy visibly paled.
“Leave him alone, Dex,” Brian defended, “You know nothing like that ever happened.”
“Nothing like that ever happened?” Dexter asked with the dangerous look of an animal ready to pounce. “Ever happened? You mean, Teddy boy here is a vi—”
“Stop, stop right there,” Teddy cut Dex off, “I am not having this conversation here with you.”
“You are!” Dex cried, and he looked ready to burst into laughter. “Not even Lawrence here is a vir—”
“Just shut it, will you?” Teddy said, clearly embarrassed as he futilely tried to wave their waitress down for another drink. But since Lawrence had hit on her, she seemed content to ignore the table completely.
“Wait? Who fell for Lawrence?” Brian asked skeptically.
“I helped him hook up with Christina something-or-other at a party last year,” Dex replied.
“Wait—Christina Johnson? Or Christina Aaronsen or was it Christine Mich—”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Teddy grumbled, pushing Lawrence out of the booth and stalking off to the bar.
“Someone’s a sensitive Sarah,” he heard Lawrence say from behind him. Teddy sighed heavily, and wondered how much more of this vacation he could take.
It wasn’t until a week later, in Mykynos, that Teddy finally found his own distraction.
He was looking at a silver bracelet, intricately detailed and impossibly delicate, and for those reasons it reminded him of Victoire. The gold hung heavy in his pocket as he contemplated buying it for her—a peace offering perhaps, a souvenir, or maybe it would just be a shame not to buy it for her. He knew he shouldn’t; he knew he couldn’t keep desperately clinging to the hope that if he couldn’t have her then maybe he could have things the way they had been. Teddy had a myriad of excuses to continue torturing himself and before he’d seen the bracelet, he had spent a few minutes examining some scarfs he thought Victoire would like.
Torture, ever so aptly named by Dex, was exactly what this was becoming too. Teddy had come to the conclusion that he thought about Victoire because he wanted too. But, like a bad splinching accident that he couldn’t turn away from, Teddy didn’t know how to stop himself. So, he tortured himself by thinking about her and picking out souvenirs for her, as he did the other Weasleys, in the hopes that someday in the future he would have more than thoughts of her to hold onto.
It was pathetic, and he knew it.
And with every passing, sleepless night, Teddy thought more and more about Dexter’s idea of a distraction.
It was as he was waiting for the bracelet to be wrapped up when he saw her a short ways off in the crowd.
It was the glint of the sun off her gold necklace that first caught his eye, but soon Teddy was caught up in the mass of black curls barely hidden beneath a silk scarf and what lay lower than that as well.
Sex emanated from her, and dripped from her being like the sweat off a cold glass. It was in the sway of her hips beneath her coral colored dress, reminding Teddy of the waves rolling up on the beach he had visited earlier that day. She moved with her entire body, not just her legs, but her arms, and hips, and breasts seemed to push forward with every step. And while her face wasn’t perfect, she was alluring, and confident, and—there was really no other word—womanly. She certainly wasn’t a girl, and she was not Victoire.
Teddy wasn’t aware of the extent of his gawking until the woman turned to look directly at him with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. He froze with embarrassment, but the woman merely pushed her sunglasses up into her hair and winked.
He looked behind him to make sure the action was directed at him, and he was close enough to hear her laugh at him as her sunglasses dropped back down onto the bridge of her nose.
The girl who worked the booth he bought the bracelet from cleared her throat. She held the package out to him, clearly annoyed by his lapse in attention. He smiled down at her apologetically and pocketed the bracelet. His mates were flagging him down from a nearby restaurant, and he extracted himself from the market crowd to join them.
As he sat down at the table with them, the woman walked by with the same knowing smirk on her lips as before.
“Hello,” she said quietly, though not shyly as she passed.
Teddy waved back awkwardly as his friends split his attention between him and the woman.
“Who. Was. That?” Dex asked, leaning across the table towards Teddy with a predatory glint in his eye.
“Don’t know,” Teddy shrugged, “just some woman I saw in the market.”
“Some woman?” Lawrence replied, “she’s like a walking shag.”
Dexter made a face as though to agree, and Teddy turned to Brian expecting him to say something about Lawrence’s vulgarities, but to his surprise, he just sipped his water thoughtfully and did not disagree.
“She wants to ruin you, Teddy,” Dex stated bluntly.
At this, Brian did roll his eyes (Teddy swore Brian had never done that before he started dating Chrys), while Teddy contemplated Dexter’s point.
“What?” Lawrence piped up, clearly confused, “You mean she wants to fu—“
“—I swear to Circe that if you finish that sentence and blow this mission, I will send so many olives flying up your nose that you won’t be able to tell your eyes from a Kalamata,” Dex threatened in a hushed voice.
Lawrence shut up instantly, cowering slightly from the menacing look on Dexter’s face.
Brian and Teddy shifted uncomfortably in their chairs. Finally, the realization of what Dex had said occurred to him.
“What do you mean ‘mission’?”
Dex looked at Teddy as though it was quite obvious. “To get you laid, of course.”
Teddy laughed, “Yeah, whatever,” but when Dex continued to stare seriously at him, Teddy’s laughter died. “You’re not serious?”
Teddy turned to Brian for support, who did nothing except hastily bury himself behind his menu. As if he could even read Greek; Teddy knew he was just trying to avoid getting caught up in one of Dexter’s schemes.
Suddenly angry and defensive, he said, “What? Are you getting so bored, Dex, that you have to turn my life into a game?”
Dex’s face remained passive as he stared at Teddy. “You’re state of purity it pathetic, mate.”
“No,” Teddy argued, being careful to keep his voice as low, “It’s normal.”
“Fine, if you insist—its normal. But, you know what isn’t? Your lingering obsession with Victoire.”
Teddy had no defense for that as he had been thinking the same thing again a few minutes before, and the bracelet weighed guiltily in his pocket. And since nothing else, not the clear waters of the Mediterranean or the time spent with his friends seemed to wash away the thoughts of Victoire, maybe what he needed was another girl. A distraction as Dexter had put it, and then maybe he’d be able to sleep and metamorph again.
Teddy looked up towards the bar where the woman was sitting, one leg crossed over the other while she read her menu. He dropped his gaze before she could catch him staring again and asked his mates, “Well, do you think I should go talk to her then?”
Dex smiled victoriously.
“That would be a start,” Brian sighed, finally putting down his menu.
“Right. So what do I say?”
Teddy looked around the table at his mates and was met with three shrugs. He shot Brian a disappointed look, which prompted his friend to speak.
“Act natural?” Brian suggested half-heartedly, adding quickly, “I don’t really know, but that’s what Chrys tells her friends.”
Teddy sighed. “Any other advice before I lead myself to slaughter? Dex?”
“Be smooth,” the other replied,”get her name and ask her out to drinks.”
“Right,” Teddy repeated. He couldn’t help but think that being smooth and being natural were mutually exclusive concepts where he was concerned. He wiped his palms nervously on his shorts, and stood, hesitantly ambling over to where the woman sat.
The bartender had just asked for her order as Teddy approached, and he stood by her stool awkwardly, not wanting to interrupt, while the woman gave her order. He contemplated sitting down next to her, but wondered if that would be considered too forward. After all, he didn’t want to scare her off, but after taking another look at the woman, he decided she wasn’t the type to be easily frightened, and he sat down anyway.
Teddy suddenly felt like he was at a recital. He could feel the eyes of his mates watching him from across the room, and those of the bartender and woman as well. Teddy saw her smirk as she finished her order. On the other hand, it had been a long time since he had been this nervous at one of his recitals. Pianos, after all, were a lot easier to approach than approaching this woman. He tried to inconspicuously wipe his palms on his shorts again.
He was sweating a lot. Teddy wanted to blame it on the Mediterranean heat, but he was inclined to believe that his true intentions were making him nervous. It was as though his guilt was manifesting itself as sweat, and for that he thanked his Grandmother and Harry, whose moral compasses apparently worked better than his own. Then again, Teddy thought that was probably just a bit dramatic.
Was what he was planning to do all that wrong?
“Hi,” Teddy greeted in a too bright voice, interrupting his own thoughts when he noticed the woman was looking at him fully. “I saw you at the market.”
“Yes, I saw you too,” she said in a thick Medterranean accent, clearly amused by his behavior. She turned on her stool and crossed her legs towards him in a very distracting manner.
“I’m Ted,” he introduced himself. He brought his eyes back up to her face and held out his hand for her to shake.
“Galatea,” she replied, returning his handshake with a firm grip.
“Anyway…I saw you, and I just thought I’d come over here and ask if I could buy you a drink.”
“Now?” She asked, eyeing him warily.
“Now, later, whenever,” he replied casually with a smile. The longer Teddy talked to her, the calmer he became. He was finding out that approaching girls wasn’t nearly as difficult as he had originally thought.
Galatea laughed. “Ok,” she said, imitating the American tourists who flocked to the island, “You have a nice smile, so I think later will be good.”
“Meet me…here,” she said, pulling a pen out of her purse and scribbling an address onto a napkin.
“Great,” he said again, reaching for the napkin. His feeling of foolishness for having made the same reply twice in a row was overcome by his excitement for that evening.
Finally, he had his opportunity to get his mind off of Victoire. Or at least, he hoped it would get his mind off Victoire.
Yet, from the moment he finished his conversation with the woman, time seemed to race forward doubly fast. Lunch and an afternoon with his companions passed in the blink of an eye, and before he even could recount what had happened, Teddy was out the door, trying to ignore the doubting look on Brian’s face and the constant flow of advice from Dexter. He barely remembered ordering the first round of drinks, but he knew many more came after and was followed with a large bill that he dolefully paid. And soon, all too soon, he was standing at the door to his hotel room, Galatea’s arms snaked around his middle as fumbled to unlock the door.
It wasn’t until they had stumbled over to the bed that Teddy realized just how nervous he really was. Any advice his friends had given him was gone now, and he really couldn’t keep up with what was happening in the dark room.
The knots in his stomach relaxed a little when Galatea leaned over and kissed him. It was nice, though she tasted of alcohol, and when she pulled away, he felt compelled to say, “I’ve never done this before.”
She laughed the same laugh she had all night, but Teddy found he didn’t like it so much in this situation. “Is that supposed to surprise me?” She breathed.
She continued to move over him, as Teddy stilled to consider whether or not he had just been insulted. But then it was happening, and all coherent thought was robbed of him as sensation took over. The physical was of the utmost importance at the moment, and he relished the feeling of oblivion. And then it was over before he wanted it to end, and any embarrassment he might have felt on that end was quickly washed away by the pull of sleep.
Just as Teddy was dozing off, Galatea hopped off the bed. “That was fun,” she said casually as she began to pull her clothes on.
“Huh?” Teddy asked, tugged back from the edge of sleep. “Yeah…I mean, you’re leaving!” Suddenly feeling very naked, Teddy sat up and pulled his pants on.
“Of course, I’ve got to pick up my children form the babysitters,” she said plainly, smoothing her hair in the vanity mirror. She grabbed her shawl and purse, and with a quick kiss to Tedddy’s lips, she turned away and walked out the door before Teddy could even exclaim, “You have kids!”
Teddy sat on the bed, confused by what just happened. A part of him felt abandoned and misused, as another, more feral part of him was still caught up in what had happened before. In the end, he decided that he had literally asked for this to happen, and the fact that the woman got up and left just made it easier on him. Now, he wouldn’t have to worry about the awkward morning, or feel bad about lying about how he was going to write to her.
No, this was most definitely better, he thought as he slouched back down into the pillows, rolled over, and finally fell asleep.
A/N: Sorry for the extensive delay in updates. This chapter was a major hurtle for me but now that its over, I'm hoping the updates will come faster. Thanks guys! Also, what do you think of the new title? Reviews are always awesome!