Chapter 1 : Prologue: Over Coffee
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Everything you recognize is property of JKR. Everything you don't recognize is property of me. Stealing is bad for your conscience.
During the summer of her 18th year, Rose Weasley found her first love. He was a local boy who lived with his best friend near her neighborhood. She met him while visiting the Potters; she had taken her cousins and brother for a walk near the playground and met Cort there.
It was raining by the time Rose and her cousins got to the playground. James and Hugo decided to play in the puddles and the falling rain, but Rose took Lily and Albus under the big slide to seek refuge from getting wetter than need be.
Rose was the shortest, so she stood closest to the descending end of the slide. Next was Albus, then Lily.
“Apparently, I’m not the only one who favors staying dry,” said a voice that echoed beneath the big slide.
Rose jumped. She turned to the source of the voice and was met with a pair of soft eyes that didn’t match a muscular physique. If it weren’t for this young man’s smile, she would fear that he would rip her to pieces with his bare hands.
“I guess not,” she said, returning a polite smile. The young man was the tallest of the four of them, and he had to crane his neck around Albus and Lily in order to see her.
“I’m Cort,” he said, extending his long arm around Lily and Albus. Lily rolled her eyes.
“Rose.” She took his hand and felt him grip it tightly, then loosen. She imagined he was one who didn’t know his own strength.
Five years after their honeymoon, Ted and Victoire still had the passion they’d had as teenagers. It was a weekday and the couple had decided to forget that the rest of the world existed in order to spend a secret afternoon in bed.
The sun was shining – the beginning of summer was upon them – leaking through the cracks between the drapes. The drapes were, in fact, shower curtains; the young couple couldn’t afford the burgundy ones that fit Victoire’s liking.
Victoire’s liking, Teddy quickly learned, was most important. Picking out their home, too, was a decision on which Victorie had the final say. For Teddy, life would be about making his new wife happy.
At the moment, he knew what that meant.
Love-making was one of the only activities in which Victoire gave Teddy control. Victorie liked to do things her way, and she felt it was somehow her responsibility to take care of every minute detail. While she tended to the day-to-day, practical items of the agenda, Teddy was the dreamer. Teddy was the passionate one, and she knew that she could trust him with her intimacy, though they were few and far between.
These were the moments when Victoire was allowed to give up all responsibility and let Teddy take care of her, for she knew that he was able.
It started almost instantly. There was definitely an immediate attraction, though Rose couldn’t quite understand how this handsome boy picked her over her cousin Lily who, in Rose’s opinion, was much better-looking.
It was his eyes that captured Rose. They shined bright gray, almost silver. It was as though Cort were a ghost or an apparition.
Or a fantasy.
The chemistry between them was undeniable, and following their first meeting, he took Rose on several dates.
Cort loved to drink coffee, and he introduced Rose to the new drug. Many of their dates were at various coffee places around the town. They were all muggle places, though, and Rose promised herself that she would take Cort out for a firewhiskey.
“You’re really p-pretty, Rose,” Cort sputtered after taking a gulp of his coffee.
Rose’s eyes widened. Was he saying this because of the coffee? Or was he serious? “Thanks, Cort.” She offered him a smile.
“No, I mean… you’re really pretty, R-rose.” This time, he said it without taking another sip. He leaned over the table and his eyes darted from her right to her left.
He was serious, all right.
She reached out and touched his cheek. He flinched and pulled back. “S-sorry,” he said.
“What’s the matter?”
“No, it’s just – I mean –” His leg bobbed under the table for two. He licked his lips a lot and blinked several times. “It’s just that you’re s-so pretty.”
Rose chuckled. “Thank you. That’s sweet.”
Suddenly, an idea dawned on her. She downed the rest of her coffee, which had become cold, and said, “Come home with me.”
Cort’s eyes may have popped out of his head and rolled across the table.
Victoire lay beneath Teddy like a fresh flower that had been picked for a bouquet. She looked at her husband with soft, pure eyes. Though otherwise demanding and harsh, Victoire was angelic during their intimate moments. These were the moments Teddy loved most of all; looking into her eyes as she submitted herself to him, the sun shining in through the makeshift window décor, smelling her hair, her skin. Taking all of her in. These were Teddy’s favorite moments.
Idly, he hoped they would still have these moments on weekday afternoons fifty years from now.
Rose’s parents thought Cort was the greatest. “I haven’t met a more well-mannered boy since Harry,” Ron had said.
“He was a bit nervous, though, wasn’t he?” Hermione nudged her daughter.
Rose shrugged. “Yeah, but that’s what I like about him.”
“I know what you mean,” Hermione said, eyeing Ron from across the room.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he said.
One evening, over coffee, Cort spilled a secret that she was sure he would have rather kept to himself.
“I thought you would dump me when you found out I’m not as smooth as I look.”
Rose laughed. “Why would I dump you? You’re the sweetest guy I’ve ever met.”
Cort shrugged and took another sip of coffee. “I thought you’d want someone who’s… you know… cool.”
“I like you, Cort. I like you just the way you are. I like that you stutter when you get nervous, and I like that you bob your knee when you’re anxious.”
Cort smiled and leaned across the table, beckoning with his finger for Rose to do the same. He planted a sweet, soft-lipped kiss on her cheek.
That was the night they became official boyfriend and girlfriend.
That was the night that Rose thought would be the best night of her life.
That was the night Rose was sure she’d found love.
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