Chapter 2 : True Colors
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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.
The negative pregnancy test stared back at Victoire. She sat in the bathtub when she waited for the results, for good luck. Her limbs sprawled and spilling out over the edge, Victoire was defeated. Why was she unable to become pregnant? She’d asked herself many times over the past few years, but she never got an answer. She must simply be unlucky.
Cursed, more accurately.
How many times had she apologized to Ted? How many times had he gathered her crying, sobbing body into his arms and patted her hair comfortingly, cooing, “It’ll happen.”
It wouldn’t happen. It would never happen. For five years, Victoire and Ted had been trying to conceive a child, but it just wouldn’t happen. She’d tried to stay positive, thinking that somehow her hope would assist in the process, but the pregnancy tests didn’t lie. They always came back unforgiving, leaving Victoire to lie foolishly in the bathtub, wishing for luck that would never come.
Perhaps if she stared at it long enough, the test would change its mind. Victoire had considered it. She’d also wondered if there were any sort of magical supplement that could help. Afraid of what would happen, though, she didn’t pursue her inward queries.
By now, she wasn’t surprised that the test came back negative, but each time she took it, she hoped for something different. This will be the time, she’d told herself. This time it’ll happen.
This time was no different than the other times.
Victoire sighed and gathered herself. She hoisted herself out of the bathtub, her robe flopping down to cover her bare body. She tossed the pregnancy test in the garbage can, along with the three others she’d taken before it. All negative.
It didn’t take long for Rose to understand that Cort was shyer than he appeared. Rose all but dragged a kiss on the lips out of him. He’d said he’d enjoyed it, but that he would never initiate it himself. Rose liked that Cort was shy in that way to a certain extent. It was cute, but ultimately, she needed him to be the boyfriend she needed. Cort was quick with the compliments, but Rose knew that words only stretched so far. Rose needed physical intimacy.
After a few months of dating, the cuteness of Cort’s shy nature started wearing off. Rose was beginning to get frustrated with him.
There was one incident when Rose and Cort were on the couch at Rose’s house, watching a film. Her parents were at the Potters visiting for the night, and Rose knew that her parents wouldn’t be back for a long while. Ron trusted both Cort and Rose to be responsible, but Rose knew that one night of romance wouldn’t hurt anyone, especially if no one found out.
Cort had his arm around Rose’s shoulders as she leaned on him. There was one lamp on in the living room, flooding the room with warm, yellow light. The mood was definitely set.
During a commercial break, Rose turned to Cort and kissed him lightly on the cheek. He smiled at her and rubbed her shoulder.
Rose took Cort’s hand and moved it to her waist. He looked at her with a quizzical expression. Rose took his face in her hands and planted a passionate kiss on his lips. She felt him put his other hand around her waist, and she pushed herself against him. The kiss became deeper as she put more and more of her emotion into it. He was tentative, but she hoped that if she demonstrated her enthusiasm, he would give her some of his back.
When she put her leg on his lap, he stopped her.
“What?” she said, breathless. Her heart was pounding out of her chest.
“Let’s stop.” He, too, was out of breath, but he looked scared. “Before we…”
“Before we what? It’s okay, Cort.” She went to kiss him again, but he turned his head.
“No, Rose. We can’t. I can’t.”
“Why? What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing, it’s just –”
“Then what’s wrong with me?”
“No!” he barked and nearly pushed her away. “That’s not what I meant, Rose! It’s just…” He dropped his voice. “I’m not ready, okay?”
She turned away from him, more sad than angry. She felt guilty for pushing him into something he didn’t want to do, but the fact remained that she needed something he wasn’t giving her. When would he be ready? When he was ready, would she still be? What if the timing never works itself out? How could they be together with this wall constantly separating them?
Rose and Cort didn’t see much of each other after that. They still talked daily, but they both pretended like nothing had ever happened. The wall was still there, and it didn’t show any signs of budging.
“Want some coffee, Vic?” Teddy said, pouring the black liquid into the two mugs.
“Love some,” she said. She leaned on the table, one hand holding up her forehead.
Ted slid a mug across the table for her. She took a sip and spit it out.
“What is this?”
“What do you mean? It’s coffee.”
She eyed Teddy. “This isn’t the way I like it, Ted. This isn’t my coffee.”
“They didn’t have your kind at the store, Vic. Sorry.”
“Is this how it’s going to be now? We’ve been married for five years and you don’t know how I like my coffee?”
Teddy remained oddly calm. “I already said, they didn’t have your kind.”
“You always forget about me. You don’t care about me at all!”
“Victoire, come on! Don’t be stupid.”
“So now I’m stupid, too?”
“What is this about?”
“It’s about you always forgetting me.”
“How could I forget about you? I think about you all the time – you’re my wife!”
“Well I don’t feel like your wife! I can’t do what a wife is supposed to be able to do!” By now, Victoire was screaming, tears falling from her eyes. Whenever this happened before, this was the time when Teddy surrendered and took her in his arms to comfort her. She expected him to do it again.
“Victoire, I’m sick of having this conversation with you. What do you want me to do about it? We keep trying – that’s all we can do. It’s not my fault.”
Victoire collapsed into the chair again, covered her face in her hands, and comforted herself. “Just go, Teddy,” she said under her breath.
She didn’t look at him. She heard the door slam when he left.
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