Chapter 2 : My Foolish Heart
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Keep that breathless charm
“You look very handsome tonight Lori.” His mother smiled up at him serenely, the vibrant yellow of her dress nearly blinding him as he did so. She did look lovely in the colour though, he thought. It suited her in more ways than one. He smiled back down at her, squeezing her hand.
“Thank you Mum. You don’t look half bad yourself.” She just laughed; the wrinkles at the corner of her eyes the only outward sign of age he could see. His mother was timeless, he thought. Oh yes, alright, she was a bit batty too, but he loved her all the more for it. While her antics were a constant source of amusement, one could never fault her for her imagination. Even as she passed forty and into what most would deem an age at which one must become sensible, his dear mother clung to the innocence and wonder of a child. While still showing wisdom and sense most never had.
As he spun his mother about the dance floor in time to a lively tune played by the band, he kept his eyes in one relative direction. His mother noticed, though he never knew she did, he just couldn’t tear his eyes away. She was so bloody beautiful he couldn’t stop staring at her if he’d tried. And he’d tried; every time he realized what he was doing he tried to stop. Sometimes he even succeeded for a minute or two before his eyes dragged back to her and he was hypnotized by the sight once more. There she was, standing by a table laden with an assortment of drinks, laughing at something some tall, dark, and handsome bloke was saying. Bloody bastard, whoever he was.
He had pictured their reunion so many times it was bordering on the ridiculous. It changed just a little each time, but the theme remained the same. He said his line, “Hey Lucy, remember me?” then she would look at him for a moment or several without comprehension. Then her eyes would grow large and round with recognition and surprise before finally, with a wordless cry of delight, for she was surely speechless, she would fling herself into his arms and cling to him in a sweet, desperate sort of way. Being the wonderful romantic hero he was, he’d whisper in her ear how much he’d always loved her and then he’d lead her away. They would find a secluded place, maybe a field of flowers or a grassy spot beside a stream, where he’d confess everything to her and she’d respond in like. It ended as he kissed her senseless and they made plans to elope at once.
Actually, she had laughed a bit as if his line was silly then gave him her hand to shake. “Of course I remember you Lorcan. How could I forget? Even if I did, you look just like your brother and I’d have known you right off. How are you?”
The conversation, which he thought was a bit bleak and dry, ended thirty seconds later as she skilfully passed him on down the line so that he could greet her sister, the bride and the rest of the wedding party. Lysander and Monica had been waiting for him at the end of the line. Being twins, Lysander knew his brother quite well and had just shaken his head without comment. “Let’s find Mum and Dad.”
Now that bloody bloke he didn’t know was leading her out onto the dance floor. In his agitation, he forgot the steps to the dance and stumbled. His father cut in smoothly with a grin, telling his son to go off and find some other pretty young thing to dance with, he had plans for this one. Even at twenty-five years of age, Lorcan did not want to hear his father talk about his mother that way. Gagging a bit, he headed off for a corner table, where he found the company of a glass of champagne and a bowl of peanuts. He didn’t particularly like peanuts.
Damn. He really wished he knew who that bloke was. He wasn’t a terribly nice looking fellow, bit oily if you asked him. Not that anyone was. Especially not her. Obviously she thought he was wonderful, the way they were carrying on. Honestly. He couldn’t possibly be that funny. Yet there she was, laughing again. How long was this song anyway?
“Lorcan! Bloody hell mate, haven’t seen you in years!” A goofy grin pasted on his face, James Potter plopped down next to the jealous man. “How are you?”
He really was glad to see his old friend, so Lorcan tore his eyes away from the dancing couple long enough to say hello. “Oh well enough. And you?”
“Smashing. Absolutely fantastic. I tell you, I love weddings. Plenty of pretty girls dreaming of romance and getting drunk.” James just laughed as Lorcan rolled his eyes.
“You know me, I haven’t changed a bit.” He waggled his eye brows. “Want to join me?”
Lorcan snorted, taking another drink from his glass of champagne. His eyes were on the dancing couple once again and he was barely even aware of it. “Not likely.” James followed his gaze.
“Ah, so that’s the way of it.” James gave a knowing grin. “Always wondered about the two of you, back in the day. Thought you’d sweep her off her feet and all that rubbish. Was a bit surprised I must say when you rode off into the eternal sunset, so to speak, and never even asked her out once.”
Lorcan scowled. “There was never anything between us. I don’t even know who you’re talking about.” James just guffawed, slapping his friend on the back.”
“Of course you don’t. So tell me Lori, where have you been the last, what, seven years? Merlin’s teeth, it’s really been that long? Christ.” He took a long draw on his beer, as if to will away the years.
“Yes, it’s been that long. And I’ve been travelling, working.”
“Yeah, I remember Aunt Luna mentioning you travelled a fair bit. What sorts of work you into Lori?”
Resigning himself to a conversation with the persistent Potter, Lorcan gave Lucy and That Bloke one last look and then turned to look at James. “International Relations, actually. I started as an intern after Hogwarts, they sent me to Bolivia with the ambassador. I’ve been in it ever since. Recently left Pakistan.”
“International Relations, eh? What does that have you doing, exactly? Are you a political ambassador?”
“No, I’m not an ambassador. I work for ambassadors. I’m a cultural expert actually, so I study the local settings and report to the ambassador’s office.”
“Like a spy?” James looked duly impressed and Lorcan was a bit disappointed in correcting him.
“No. Like an analyst. I just mingle, learn the language best I can, and gauge the locals. The climate in the actual citizenship is often much different than what their government presents after all. It’s quite a rewarding job. I get to experience all sorts of cultures and peoples and get paid to do it!”
James gave him a big smile. “So you’re a domestic spy!”
“Er – sure. That’s it.”
“Bloody brilliant that. I’d have loved to be a spy.” He spaced off for a minute then and Lorcan could see by the look on his face he was probably imagining himself as double-Oh-Potter, saving the world single-handedly.
“Yeah.” James said, looking back at Lorcan with a grin. “I’d be brilliant.” Lorcan rolled his eyes again.
“James, you’re drunk.”
“Sloshed, actually. Great fun, weddings. Molly ought to do this more often.”
“I don’t suppose she’s planning on marrying anyone else.” Lorcan said drily. “She and Declan seem rather enchanted with each other.”
“Enchanted. Enchanted. Good word for it.” James burped loudly. “Sorry ‘bout that. Yes, enchanted. Apparently it’s entirely my fault you know.”
“Your fault they’re enchanted?”
“Yes. Er – no. What?”
“What’s your fault?”
“Oh. Right. Well, them. Their meeting. Or whatever.”
“You introduced them?”
“No.” James said vaguely. Lorcan rolled his eyes again. James was far beyond sloshed, in his opinion. “Good to see you mate. Look me up while you’re about, yeah?” With one last salute with his now empty beer bottle, which, Lorcan assumed, was the reason for his departure, James sauntered off. Was he listing a bit left?
Lorcan smiled with a wry twist to his lips as his old friend moved away. Then his eyes went back to the dance floor, his eyes honing in on the lovely blonde he’d been watching all evening. He frowned. She was still dancing with That Bloke. Who was he? Well, only one way to find out for sure. Draining his second glass of champagne, Lorcan stood with a mission in mind.
Molly was, he had to admit, glowing quite beautifully. Love, and this newly wedded state, really seemed to do wonders for her. Not that Molly hadn’t always been quite pretty, but this was new. Lorcan smiled, unable to prevent it. Her happiness was positively contagious. She smiled beatifically when she saw him approaching.
“Lorcan Scamander! I haven’t seen you in years!” She gave him a light hug and then turned to introduce him to her husband. “Declan, this is Lorcan. I know you’ve met his brother, Lysander and sister-in-law Monica. He’s Rolf and Luna’s son.”
“Hello, mate.” Declan smiled easily, obviously quite in love with the petite woman by his side. “Nice to meet you.” His lilting Irish brogue was infused with friendliness and warmth. Lorcan decided he liked this tall, dark haired Irishman.
“And you. Congratulations to you both, I wish you the best.” They thanked him and exchanged a few more pleasantries before Lorcan smiled and said, “Well, I did come over here to ask the lovely bride for a dance. Do you mind?”
“Not a’tall!” Declan smiled easily, planting a kiss on Molly’s nose before turning her over to Lorcan.
“Oh Lorcan, it is so good to have you here. I can’t believe how long it’s been since we saw you last. How long has it been?”
“Ah, seven years.”
“Seven years. What’s been keeping you away?”
“I travel a lot for work. It doesn’t leave much time for home, unfortunately.”
“Oh? What do you do?”
“I’m a cultural analyst for the International Relations department at the Ministry.”
“That sounds very interesting.” She said sincerely. “What exactly do you do?”
“I immerse myself in foreign cultures to really learn them, and get a feel for the feelings of the people. Then I write long, dry reports for ambassadors, or their aides rather, to read.”
“So you work for an ambassadors?”
“Many, actually. None in particular.” He turned her into his arms as the band struck up a fresh melody. The dance floor was full of people, but he couldn’t spot Lucy anywhere.
“Oh. Lucy works for Ambassador Hinkle, in Italy. She is home fairly often though. Have you ever been to Italy to work?” Lorcan missed the speculative gleam in Molly’s eyes.
“No. I work in countries our Ministry is just beginning relations with. Established countries don’t use my sort of analyst unless there is a large upheaval in the political clime. So our paths would never cross.”
“Oh, I see.” Lorcan did not, however, see Lucy. Anywhere. “I just thought that, your working for the same department and all, you might.”
“I don’t, in truth, see very many people at all. It’s a rather secluded sort of work.”
“I would imagine. And no chance to come home to visit.” Lorcan just smiled in response and they danced in silence for a few moments. Then he spotted her. She was still with the same bloke she’d been with for an hour. Didn’t she know how to mingle?
“How is Lucy, Molly?” Busy watching the subject of his curiosity, he missed the laughter in Molly’s eyes.
“Oh, she’s quite well.”
“Likes her job?”
“Yes, she loves it, I think.”
“So, what do you think? Will she follow you in matrimony?” Lorcan refused to look at Molly as he asked the question, trying to feign disinterest. It might have worked, had the subject of his gaze not been so obvious to the grinning bride.
“I suppose so, someday. Who knows?”
“Hmm.” He let it lie for exactly six seconds. “Who’s that she’s with? I don’t recognize him.”
“Oh, him? That’s just Marcus Hepplewhite. Friend of Declan’s. Has quite the thing for Lucy, it seems, for all that he’s known her a week. She’s been very nice about it though. Nothing like Domi would be.” Lorcan chuckled thinking of Molly’s cousin and best friend. Dominique Weasley, now Healey, was a firebrand of a woman.
“No. Nothing like Domi.”
“Go ask her to dance, Lori. I’m sure she’d appreciate the salvation.”
“She looks like she’s enjoying herself, I wouldn’t want to interrupt and drag her away.”
“No, no. I’m sure she’d love it.”
“Are you sure? She might be upset I messed up her date.”
“Of course I’m sure! That’s no date, Lori. Just go ask her.”
“Well – maybe I should.” Molly shoved him off, watching him go with a shake of her head. Honestly, the man was thick as a grand old oak.
Lorcan cleared his throat, looking down at Lucy and Hepplewhite. Really, what kind of a name was that anyway? That Blok e looked annoyed, but Lucy smiled. Oh, it was a small smile as smiles went and she seemed tentative, but she did smile at him. Beginnings had to begin somewhere, right?
“Yes, Lorcan?” After she spoke, Lorcan realized he’d been standing with his mouth open as if her were about to speak for several seconds. Bloody hell, he looked like an idiot.
“Er – yes. I came to ask you if you’d like to dance.” He told her. A small but genuine smile curved her lips then. Lorcan held out his hand. “May I have – your life, your love, your forever – this dance?”
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