Chapter 8 : Always Farewell, Never Goodbye
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Always Farewell, Never Goodbye
Vic heaved out the back door of the diner, I waltz after her, smacking the door shut behind me with my hip and lighting a cigarette seamlessly with one hand.
Vic collapses on the concentrate steps with a immediate view of a back alley of dumpsters with suspicious empty pill bottles and needles.
“A smoke always helps me” I advise her
She doesn’t respond but the looks at the dumpster ahead of her. I sign, pulling Teddy’s jacket closer to me, gripping the bag hanging off my shoulder and sitting down next to Vic.
“Its not supposed to be a field of sunshine” I whisper, letting my cigarette smoke float up in the windless morning air.
“I know, actually I didn’t know” Vic says. Her eyes are tired, probably not used to staying up hours of the night. Her soft hair is falling down in strands from the neat bun and her clothes are stained with ketchup.
“Made any good tips?” I ask hopefully, already knowing the answer
“Just pity tips”
“How do you know they were pity tips?” I ask.
She scoffs, “The guy said, ‘here darling keep the change-looks like you need it’, and he said darling like daaarhlaing. It was unbelievably annoying”.
“Meet a character you like?” I ask
She sucked in her cheeks and thought. She looked real innocent just sitting there all her cheeks gone with her thinking face. I smiled, my smile stretched so long and I could feel the lines it formed.
“This old man that came in around 1:30 in the morning. He looked really happy, and ordered some coffee” she finally said
“Why did you like him? Cause he just ordered coffee or cause he looks happy?”
“Both I guess” she said letting herself smile for the first time.
“You don’t have to keep working here-we could find you another job” I say, just realizing my cigarette had about a mile of ash piled up. I flicked it on the alley and inhaled.
“No, this job is perfect because Ben doesn’t have to find out I’m gone”
“You sure he won’t notice a cold bed once in a while?” I say
“Whats a couple nights alone matter to a heavy sleeper?” I hate when she answers a question with a question. Some annoying habit she picked up from Teddy and never let go. Makes her seem so witty.
I put the cigarette to my mouth again.
“Sometimes, if you wait a little you can see the sunrise above all this muck.” I say to her nodding towards the slim view of sky.
When the sun rises everything gets veiled in this misty light and turns from black to blue, like right now, just before the orange rays light up the dim sky.
“I should go home” she said standing up. She wasn’t wearing anything warm, and the morning was chilly.
I nodded in agreement, but stayed seating on the steps below her.
“Come on Dom, I’m not leaving you in some alleyway. Do you want me to be more worried?” she says pulling up.
“Alright fine. I need to see Teddy anyway. Arse never made it to dinner.”
I lied to Vic, a little. I didn’t go straight to Teddy’s because it was about 4:30 in the morning. First thing’s first is to get some coffee at LJ’s coffee shop.
It wasn’t really hers, but it she worked there. Like saying Robert’s school. It really isn’t his school.
I left my apron back at the dinner and just had a white dress under Teddy’s jacket. I walked into the warm coffee shop across town. It was in the middle of the artsy district of playwrights and sad actors that sing in happy musicals. LJ wasn’t working but Brot was. He was one of those guys who anyone only ever know by their first name.
I walked up to him smiling. He didn’t have a nametag or anything because it was of those artsy coffee shops, of course. He was wearing maroon though. It looked nice against his lean blonde self.
“Charm,” he greeted me coming around the counter to hug me. He liked calling me ‘Charm’ saying I try to charm any guy I meet. And that it rhymed with ‘Dom’ a little.
“Long time no see, come at the back of the counter here, I’m the only one working this only morning so you have to worry about Tatalow”
“Jesus I hate that guy, always coming up and asking me to leave his goddamn shop because I’m distracting his goddamn workers” I say walking behind the cash register and hopping on the counter next to the espresso machine.
“You are one piece of distraction if I ever met one” Brot says laughing making me a espresso shot then some coffee.
I accept the espresso while he works on my coffee, closing me eyes to smell the hot caffeine waiting to pump through my blood. Another thing with Brot, its never odd to him to walk into coffee shop at 4:45 in the morning looking for an espresso.
I grin at his comment shrugging off Teddy’s jacket, “What have you been up to Brot? Besides making a hot strong cup of love for every bird that walks in here?”
He snorts at that one, “Listening to LJ complain mostly, but its fine. The way she says some things-” he cuts himself off by laughing at some memory.
I nod, “ You smitten on anyone?”
“No one you know” he says leaning against the opposite counter, making so that if a customer walks in he’ll have to turn around. Though I doubt it, as its 4:46 in the morning, I repeat.
“Oh please I know everyone” I say unbashfully.
He sees I finished my espresso and gives me a cup of coffee. He one of those people who notices small things like that so you never have to ask for anything.
“Why would I tell you?” he asks giving me this shrewd look as if sizing me up.
“Cause you want to tell me” I say obviously
He takes a sip of coffee and I follow his example. I gulp half a cup in one sip.
“Someone’s hungry, cigarettes only do so much” he says handing me a scone.
“Says the boy who lives on them” I accept the scone anyways.
“I think LJ is pretty nice looking” he says taking a chip of my scone.
“You would make beautiful artsy coffee children” my grin wide as a doorway as he laughs.
“You like her body” I say
“And her mind, can you believe it?”
“Yeah, I can” I smile softly.
“Where’re you going after this? You’re always flying all over the goddamn London city”
I shrug. I know he means where I go after I leave the coffee shop, but I was thinking where I’m going in life.
I yawn, tossing to the other side of my bed, bringing my sheets with me. It’s too early in the morning to even be up.
I try to think of everything to get back to sleep. Films, pictures, girls, Summers when I didn’t have to work....
It’s really annoying to be up when you don’t want to be up. I complain about lack of sleep all the time but right when I have time to sleep in, I can’t. Especially when the bloody sun is already up.
I hear a buzzing coming from the floor. Its my phone; I already know. I reluctantly hop out of bed quickly grabbing my phone from the pair of jeans I wore last night then dive right back into the covers as if doing the whole process quickly will make it less painful.
“Hello?” I answer the phone in my morning voice.
“Darling! Honeysuckle! Lilac! Field of Daisies! Its been too long!”
“Go back to bed Dom,” I moan falling back onto my pillow
“Where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you” She could of said ‘I haven’t seen you in a week’ or something but she doesn’t have too.
I rub my hand against my rough stubble, “Ahhh...”
“Don’t lie” I make a wincing face. Its pretty disturbing how she can read me from across a bloody phone line.
“What about Benny?”
“She’s been around?”
“Like Dumbledore used to be ‘around’”?
“Merlin Dom, around.”
“Don’t get all snappy with me. She is the one who broke your heart-”
“-Leaving me in pieces, blah, blah. I’m not that thick”
“It was a lot more than that as you know. Open the front door for me will yeah?”
“Wha-? Oh Merlin!” I rubble like a old man and get up from my warm bed for the second unnecessary time this morning for the same reason. Dom.
One hand still on the phone I walk down my short hallway to the living room/kitchen/front door area.
“Don’t act like I’m not the first thing you want to see in the morning” Dom says through the phone.
“Better than Beatrice” I answer back, throwing a furtive glance at her door as if she knows I’m talking about her.
“You don’t have to say everything in that tone Teddy. Let’s drop the drama queen act”
I heave a huge sign, pulling open the door and make a whole show in rolling my eyes at Dom. She snaps her phone shut and walks in.
“We need coffee” she states.
“I don’t have anymore coffee” I say following her into the kitchen. She has about five shopping bags with her, out of one she pulls out my favorite coffee.
I drop down on a stool, “I seriously love you”
“Say it like you mean it” She jokes as two mugs fly from the cupboard at the flick of her wand.
I grab a empty mug “I am in love with you Dom”
“For my coffee?”
“For your coffee and for you good looks” I say more sincerely than I meant too. That moment she looks up from the shopping bag and holds my gaze, her joking smile still on her face but her eyes seem to smolder over.
“So now what’s this Benny business?” she asks again, this time more business-like than she’s been all morning.
“Er, she dropped by. She dropped by London. Well she dropped in London, I guess”
“And decided to call up an ex?” Dom asks shrewdly
“A friend” I don’t know why I’m defending a cold-hearted bitch, honest.
Dom takes a moment to scoff between pouring the coffee into the magical brewer and taking a sit next to me.
“Ah, sorry about dinner the another night. I am really am. It kind of slipped my mind-”
“-As does most things when you’re with her” she interrupts again
“Can you stop being like that?” I say getting angry
Dom looks like she’s about to yell back at me, most likely for defending The Bitch, when Beatrice walks in. I don’t think I ever was thankful for a entrance of Beatrice into the room more than I was now.
“Dominique” Beatrice says like a fact. Dom and I both visibly wince at that name. I don’t know person who ever agreed Dominique was more fitting than Dom. Except Beatrice. Though I secretly think it’s just to piss Dom (and me) off. I mean she calls me the preferred Teddy.
“Beatrice” Dom says back only she hold out the ‘Bea’ when she says it and it makes her name sound like ‘Bitchtrice”. I find it quite funny and start to laugh.
“See you brought that poison in here” Beatrice says nodding towards the coffee tin.
Dom doesn’t seem in the mood to play ‘wit master’ with Beatrice and just says “Yep”.
Beatrice thankfully takes this as ‘farewell’ ( she always says farewell-never goodbye) and leaves the apartment. Just to do something with my hands, I get up and pour the fresh coffee into two chipped mugs for Dom and I. Dom has shedded my jacket to reveal and snug jersey cotton shirt dress. She lights a two cigarettes in her mouth artistically, giving one to me. Looking across the island table with the daylight falling fast and the smoke rising from her smudged red lips, Dom’s never looked so glamorous.
“You don’t have to give me back my jacker just yet” I mumble, taking her fore-offered fag.
“I thought you might need it”
“Nah, anyways I like seeing it on you” she tries to hide the fact I made her smile in her coffee but I catch it anyways.
I laugh. Staring at her makes me laugh. One of those nostalgic laughs.
“What you laughing about now Teddy Lupin?” Dom asks biting her bottom lip like a school girl.
“Nothing just...well you remember when you first moved out of Shell cottage?”
“More like Shell Hell. Of course I remember that day, happiest day of my life”
“Remember the first time we walked into your new apartment? It was dusty and old and the windows were still boarded up and-”
“I said it needed some life and ran to the radio and said the first song that comes on we’ll dance to it”
“Well I heard that song last night” I grin
“No! Where, Teddy Lupin, do you find these places to eat?” she asks slapping my knee, our bright eyes locked together
“It wasn’t in a restaurant it was in some Hotel lobby”
She laughed, “I can’t believe when we turned on the radio some old world 1930s song came on. I was so surprised that I forgot that I promised to dance to whatever song came on. You didn’t though, made me slow dance for the first time in my life”
I just grin at her, remembering the song and how I lifted her to meet her eyes while dancing on the unpolished floorboards. The moment was freedom. I’m not sure if it was for me or her.
“Wait...what were you doing in a hotel lobby last night?” Dom asks raising her eyebrows. She raised both of them because she never acquired the skill of the one eyebrow raise.
“Oh shove off Dom, I there was for some party”
“With Benny” she prompted
“With Benny” I agreed, taking a deep gulp from my chipped mug with one hand.
“Ready for France?”
“I got time to be ready” I shrug, “How is france?”
She smiled “I love it there. I can’t believe I love a place so much”
“Don’t abandon me there”
“Oh you’ll be begging to leave my side with all the pretty frenchies there”
“I’m always surrounded by pretty frenchies, speaking of which, you’re coming to brunch”
“Brunch? This is has Vic’s name all over it”
“You’re right, she’s having a brunch and I told her I’ll make sure you come-”
“-by telling me last minute so I can’t get out of it. Sly, Teddy”
“I try. I also promised her that Garland won’t come”
“You don’t have to worry about Garland...” she trailed off.
I decided not to push her and just take another gulp of coffee. I watch her out of the corner of my eye. She doesn’t look too troubled about the situation, so I shouldn’t either.
“So if brunch is going on soon, I should go home and get ready”
I wish she would stay a bit longer. Our conversations lately all seem forced. Mostly because we’re ignoring the big bitchy elephant of Benny in the room.
“I’ll walk you out” I say starting to get up, but she interrupts me.
“Don’t bother” and in a flash she’s already through the door. I look at where she sat and saw she left my jacket. I roll my eyes. She’s so fucking stubborn.
I push open the door of a beautifully garnished cafe. Chandeliers decorate the ceiling, while thin colorful rugs from far South Asian countries decorate the floor. In between the two are a bunch of pricks (and Teddy) who I am about to join at long table under the back window that glazes light over the whole scene, like we’re all fucking saints or something.
I think the lack of sleep is finally kicking in.
Unfortunately I have neglected to do my laundry and anything offensive I could of wore, is already much to dirty with the smell of smoke, alcohol and rock and roll (just kidding about the last one) that I was forced to wear a petite dress that floats down to my calves, my shoulders and chest both covered. No one to impress anyways.
I walk to the small crowd of people Vic has gathered. Besides the obvious (Teddy), there’s Vic’s boyfriend’s friends from his birthday party, Vic’s prissy girlfriends dressed in white lace and such, and....wait no that’s it.
“Why did I come again?” I whisper to Teddy who is already drinking a mimosa.
“Free alcohol?” he says, handing a champagne flute to me. That’s more than enough reason.
“Dom is that you? I haven’t seen you in ages!” I turn around to find one of Vic’s less annoying friends.
“Hi Stella” I say smiling. She’s only annoying because she doesn’t know when to stop talking, and she has a distracting gap between her two front teeth. Besides that, I like her.
“How you been? I honestly thought I wouldn’t see you til Vic’s marriage. I know how much you hate these things” she says waving her arms around the generalness that surrounds us. Teddy doesn’t say anything to Stella, but takes another mimosa from the table.
“Vic likes dragging me in through things by this one” I nod towards Teddy, I’m torn between throwing a smirk at him because he’s upset that his mimosas have more orange juice than champagne or glaring at him because he’s the reason I’m here.
“I haven’t been able to come to these because of work. You know I quit working at Magical Games Corporation?”
“No I didn’t. I thought you loved that job.” I would love to be inventing new games everyday. Too bad you need to be a genius with top grades like Stella.
“Yep, it wasn’t my calling. I decided to work Munorkree Magic Music Records”
“No way! The best rock bands come out of that place! Did you meet anyone famous yet?” I ask excitedly. Teddy rolls his eyes. He hates Rock. Mostly because Garland plays in a shitty band and whenever Teddy and Garland are together (and not punching each in the face) Garland talks on and on about Shitty Band Garland.
“Tons! Monkey Potion Cradles, Hugh Stanu, manager of the WitchTwin?...I’m actually doing a lot of field research, aka, going to concerts. Man they get crazy sometimes.”
“When’s your next one? I would defiantly love to come along” I love my boys in bands.
“It’s tonight actually...some band called Chassis playing at Mr. Newton’s Place in Lower End.”
“Seriously? My boyfriend’s band is opening them tonight. I’ll already be there, oh we have to have a drink together tonight”
She grinned her gap-toothed grin, “Obviously!”
“Ugh, you’re going to see Garland’s shitshow tonight?” Teddy interrupts as Stella is distracted by another one of Vic’s friends.
“Why?” I ask him deciding to sit down at the nicely decorated table, nibbling on one of the glittering, sugared tarts.
He joins me answering, “I was planning that we should actually hangout tonight. Spend some time together” he shrugs.
Sometimes Teddy is so sweet and he doesn’t even know the things he says. I feel my heart go soft at his words.
“How about you come over tonight before I go to the show? I would say earlier but I’m so bloody tired”
“Do you know why Vic wants me here so badly? She haven’t even come up to me yet”
He shrugs, “How’s work?”
“Slow. I don’t want to think about the amount of paper work they keep shoving up my arse”
“Wonderful image” Teddy replies dryly
“You asked” I shrugged
“Benny has a pretty good job. She’s doing what she wanted”
Ah, that’s what he really wants to talk about. “That’s one person in this world”
“She’s on vacation, for two weeks”
“Doesn’t she have family or something? What the heck is she doing hanging around shoddy parts of London with her ex-boyfriend who is a burn out?”
“I love you for you, you know” I say smiling reaching over to squeeze his knee. He looks up at me and I realize how awkward the knee thing is. Do I just take off my hand? Or leave it there? Which would be more noticeable. I knee grasped him before, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
I’ll just leave it there. His knee is nice so whatever.
He continues talking and doesn’t seem to think my hand being there is weird. That’s good.
“I know you do. I actually haven’t ask her what she’s doing. I think she’s trying to reconnect with some old friends. Or at least the ones that will still have her...”
“You call her a friend? And will you have her again?” I ask through my teeth. He can’t be honestly considering even talking to her after these two weeks. Two weeks of closure I can do. What I can’t do is Benny.
“When I was with her I was going somewhere. I want to feel that again. I haven’t felt that in a long time”
“Me either Teddy! Doesn’t mean I give into all the bad people and the bad person I was when I was successful. I rather be dirt poor and be me...who I am right now. Right in this moment, for all the moments and mistakes in the world”
He doesn’t say anything and I probe a bit more, my head leaning closer to his and whispering, “Were you really you when you were with Benny? Was that even Teddy? For one second, was it even real?”
I search his brown eyes, I think that’s the problem with Teddy. Not problem, there’s no problem with Teddy, I think that’s what he doesn’t get is what I mean. He’s still finding himself, and he’s confused and Benny isn’t helping.
“All I know was that I was going somewhere. I had drive. Where is that now Dom? Where did your drive go?”
I take my hand off his knee, “I don’t know, but I know whatever shitehole my life is in right now, it’s not that bad, and I’ll get over it”
“When? I’ve been waiting years and I’m no where. I watch the girl I am love with another bloke every other day. I see what the ex has done with her life, I make minimal money. My family is disappointed in me, they just don’t say it.”
“Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny love you no matter what...and so would your parents” I soothe him. I know he has a lot to live up to....considering everything. We never really talk about parents and family and serious stuff like that. We don’t want to.
“Come have a smoke with me? I kind of don’t want to be here right now” he asks me.
I nod and we get up. I notice he’s wearing a nice button down shirt and blazer with jeans. We both look much too old and polished, walking outside though double doors from brunch. Bloody Vic, I blame her.