Chapter 3 : Half Timing, Half Luck
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I know someday that it’ll all work out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
Lorcan thought he would sprout wings and fly when Lucy put her hand in his. It seemed as if the world itself stood still. Everything froze and for one moment it was just them, hand in hand, eyes locked together, alone. Nothing and no one else mattered. They could not intrude on this moment. He felt a spark, a connection, as if by placing her hand in his she had made everything right in his world. Planets aligned, stars sang and he would never be the same.
Dancing was the key to her heart, he was sure of it. If he could hold her in his arms she would remember everything he did. Like a slide show, every memory he had of her slid before his eyes in bright colours of summer and young love. He remembered every detail of hat summer they spent together, each kiss, every smile she sent his way. Fate had brought them to this moment; he knew it better than he knew anything else.
Mesmerized, he watched the movement of her lips. It wasn’t until they stopped that he realized what she had been saying.
“Thank you, Lorcan, I’d love to dance. It’s always nice to see an old school friend.” She smiled as if everything were normal, as if she hadn’t just shattered his world. Hers, it seemed, had kept right on spinning, and Lorcan was left behind.
This, he thought, was not how it was supposed to happen. He had spent the last half hour of his life figuring exactly how it would go. How her breath would catch, how she would feel that spark of connection, how memories would assault her and her world would freeze. Then she’d give a breathless yes’ and they would dance, their worlds spinning in time to one another’s.
Lorcan smiled blandly and led her toward the dance floor. He barely saw anything around him, so distracted was he by his racing thoughts. He took Lucy to the very centre of the dance floor and pulled her into his arms. The band was just moving into a new song, an old jazz tune his parents had likely listened to while they were young. Molly loved this sort of music.
Whoever had chosen the band had made an excellent decision, Lorcan thought. Their music selection was made with impeccable timing. The singer, a rather handsome young man dressed in a muggle suit, began the song with a low crooning and went on in low tones, singing a quiet love song. Lorcan thought he’d never felt anything so wonderful as this woman in his arms, her hand resting in his and the other on his shoulder. He could have sworn he could feel the warmth of it through the layers of coat and shirt.
Her honey hair was caught up in an intricate style that he couldn’t even begin to guess the possibility of. But he knew he liked it. The sleek, straight strands all neatly bound on the back of her head, with just a few wisps to frame her heart shaped face. He barely knew what the music was, unable to tear his gaze away from her face. That Cupid’s bow mouth had just a hint of a smile at the corners. It teased him, refusing to shine upon him just yet. She was watching the other couples as they spun by, the light of life shining in her eyes at it always had.
“It really is good to see you again, Lorcan.” She said, smiling. “It’s been so many years.”
“Good to see you too Lucy, you’ve really grown up.” Lucy laughed softly.
“Last you saw of me I was barely seventeen and you were headed off for the exciting world of foreign affairs. Yes, Lorcan, I’ve grown up a bit since then.”
They danced in silence for a few moments; Lorcan had something new to think about. Maybe, he thought to himself, he was going about this the wrong way. Obviously, Lucy was not the same carefree sixteen year old girl he’d fallen in love with . She was twenty three now, and grown up. All grown up, Lorcan thought, with an appreciative glance downward.
"What have you been doing since I last saw you, then?"
“Er – oh. Um, you know. Working.”
“International Relations, right?” He blinked. She knew? No one else had any idea, even though he knew he’d told them what he was going into before he left seven years ago. But she remembered.
“Uh, yeah. That’s right. Cultural analyst, actually.”
“Oh, so it’s no wonder our paths never crossed.” She looked over his shoulder at something. “I always wondered if they might, when I chose that field.”
“Really? And, what made you decide on that field of work?”
She shrugged, giving him a mysterious smile that set his heart to racing. “Oh, I don’t know. Just seemed like an interesting job I guess.”
“So, are you an aide to an ambassador?”
“No, actually. I’m an advisor.”
“So your job is similar to mine, only you get to infiltrate the upper echelons rather than the common?” Lorcan gave her a boyish grin.
Lucy’s laugh rang in the evening air. “Something like that. When I tried to explain it to James, he kept asking me if I was a spy.”
“He asked me the same thing. Bloody idiot.” The lopsided grin still on his face softened the insult in his words. “Double-oh-Potter, dashing spy who saves the world single-handedly.”
“Don’t forget ‘and get’s the girl’.” They laughed together over the thought of her cousin and his friend. A goofier soul Lorcan wasn’t sure he’d ever met, but he was a great friend.
They lapsed into silence then, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable one. He revelled in the feel of her warm skin under his hand, and the silk of her dress between them. His eyes were drawn to her golden hair and the way the setting sun played amongst the strands. Honey and silver all mixed together, just as he remembered it. He wondered if it was as soft as he remembered, softer than the silk of her dress. A mad urge to pull all the pins out of her hair and run his fingers through it itched in his hands. He only just restrained himself from it.
“That’s a serious look on your face.” She said with a small half smile. “Concentrating too hard are we?”
Lorcan startled and looked into her eyes. Her amusement glittered back at him. “Oh – ah – no. Not that. Ehrm...” Lucy laughed softly. Lorcan gave a sheepish smile. “Just thinking."
“So, are you next?” He asked, pasting a smile on his face, pretending her answer didn’t obsess him.
“Next to what?”
“Get married. I mean, Dom is married, Molly is now, Rose is. Seems like you’re next.”
Lucy looked somewhere over his shoulder, a little half smile playing on her lips. The music slowed down, the song changing, and Lorcan pulled her a little bit closer. One hand was all too aware of her warm soft skin, and the other tingling with the feel of soft satin, is thumb on the bare skin between her shoulder blades. For the first time, as he asked the question, Lorcan felt all the years between them. He felt the distance and the fear that time had changed things more than he had thought.
“I don’t know,” she looked back at him. “Maybe. I mean, I’m among the last of the girls, even Lily is married. But who knows? Maybe Albus, or James, will marry before me. Or Louis. None of us has anyone in particular. But if I had to guess, I’d guess Roxy.”
“You don’t have anyone? No old boyfriends cropping up? No prospects?”
Lucy laughed. “No, none. Quite the third degree here Lorcan.”
“Sorry.” He flushed.
“Okay then, how about you? Any old girlfriends? Prospects?” She laughed again as Lorcan turned red.
“No. Well – I mean...” He looked down at her with a look she couldn’t interpret. “There is one girl. But I don’t think she realizes I’m interested.”
Lucy looked at him curiously. “Oh really? Well, you better just tell her then. A girl can’t be expected to wait forever, so don’t let her go.” Lorcan nodded as the music came to an end. Lucy pulled away, and reluctantly Lorcan’s arms dropped.
“Thanks for asking me to dance, I enjoyed it.”
“You’ve always liked to dance.”
She nodded. “I have. You remembered.”
“I remember lots of things.”
Surely now, he thought, she would see. See how he had never forgotten her. And more than that, he remembered her. Remembered every detail. Now she would remember too and she would smile a soft smile meant only for him. She would say how she’d been waiting for him to come back to her. How she would always love him.
“You have always had a good memory; it served you well in school.” She laughed as she guided them away from the dance floor. “There’s something I remember.” She looked up at him with a grin on her face, clearly expecting him to laugh at her self-deprecating humour. Lorcan cracked a weak smile.
“Oh, there’s Louis! I promised him a dance. Take care Lorcan, I’ll see you.” Throwing him another of her brighter-than-sunshine smile, she was gone.
That, Lorcan thought dully, could have gone better. He had stood by dumbly as Lucy had gone off to dance with her cousin. Her cousin. She didn’t even ditch him for a rival. He was brought low. Unable to glower at Lucy’s newest dance partner because he was her cousin and he couldn’t fault her for familial affection, Lorcan instead settled for glowering at his beer.
Normally, he didn’t drink much. After one weekend during seventh year that ended in vomit, he hadn’t been able to even think about getting drunk. Just now there were two empty bottles in front of him and he was working on a third. He knocked back another drink and balanced on two legs of his chair. Maybe if he cracked his skull open on the floor Lucy would notice him.
“Not likely, mate.” Lorcan nearly fell over and tested the theory, startled by the sound of a voice behind him. He barely regained his balance, coming down heavily on all four legs of the chair. His brother gave him a pounding on the back, laughing as he dropped into the chair beside him. Lorcan shrugged off his hand.
“What’s not likely?” He asked, what his brother had said registering after he had two elbows planted securely on the table.
“Lucy noticing you,” Lysander replied, smirking. “Not even if you brain yourself.” Lorcan glowered and muttered under his breath.
“You’re letting this get to you?” Lysander asked, eyebrows rising.
“Letting what get to me?”
“This – “ Lysander waved his hand expressively. “thing – with Lucy Weasley.”
“It’s not getting to me.” Lysander laughed. “It’s not!” Lorcan demanded. “Seriously.”
The brothers sat in silence for a moment, Lysander nodding his head but not looking as if he really believed his brother.
“Look, Lorcan, you’re my twin brother. I know things have changed over the last few years, what with you going off to places unknown and my getting married, but we’re still brothers – twins. And I still know you better than anyone else ever will, just as you do me. So don’t fool yourself and do us both a favour. We both know I know you’re lying.”
Lorcan could feel his brother watching him but didn’t look up. He hung his head even lower, picking at the table linen with his fingernail. Lysander leaned back against his chair, watching Lucy twirl around the floor with Louis, they were both laughing.
“What is it about her Lori? She’s just another girl.” Lorcan looked up then and they were both watching the blonde cousins dance.
“What is it about her? What is it about Monica? What does Declan see in Molly, what does Teddy seen in Rose?” Lysander studied his brother. Lorcan couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from Lucy.
“She shines, Lysander.”
Where Lysander had always been a rowdy all around boy who loved Quidditch and wooden swords, Lorcan had always been a dreamer, absorbed in his books. When they played knights, Lysander wanted to fight the dragon and Lorcan wanted to save the princess. Lysander snuck out at night to meet Monica, Lorcan to star gaze. While Lysander had always taken after their father, Lorcan took after his dreamy mother.
Lysander sighed. “I suppose I see what you mean. Still, it has been seven years Lor. Did you really think she would just be sitting around waiting for you?” Lorcan’s cheeks turned pink and Lysander shook his head, a smile of affectionate exasperation on his lips.
“It doesn’t work that way Lorcan. I suppose you thought you’d make a few witty comments, she would remember how wonderful you are, and beg you to marry her.”
“No.” He replied, belligerently. At least, he thought, not quite like that.
“Seven years is a long time Lori.”
“We were in love!” Lorcan blurted out suddenly, and then more quietly. “We were in love. You don’t just forget you were in love with someone. How can she have just forgotten? Didn’t she know I was coming back?”
“Seven years Lori. She hasn’t heard from you in seven years, so why would she still be waiting? Wake up Lor, this isn’t one of your books. Everything isn’t going to just fall into place because you love someone.”
“It did for you!”
Lysander stared at Lorcan, taken aback, shocked.
“Monica and I?” He asked with a tone of disbelief. “Is that what you think? Dear god, Lorcan, we did everything except fall neatly into place. You just don’t know it, you were gone for so long.”
“I know you had a rough patch a couple of years ago, but everything worked out. You were in love all through school and then you got married. That’s all I want too.”
Lysander dragged a hand though his hair, letting out a harsh bark of laughter. “Jesus Lorcan. We love each other, yes, and we got married, but it sure as hell isn’t all sunshine and roses. It’s work, we work at it every day.”
Lorcan just looked at him.
“She left me, Lori. Four years ago. Packed up everything one day and just left. And it was my fault. I took her for granted. Figured that we had always been together and always would be. Someday I’d ask her to marry me, I just kept telling myself that. Finally one day she just had had enough. She wasn’t going to sit around waiting for me to decide I was ready.
“I worked hard for moths to get her back. Quit staying out all night, started cleaning up after myself, got a real job and bought a ring. I learned I couldn’t just go off and expect her to wait for me. She wasn’t going to.
“You want Lucy? Great. She’s a great girl and one upon a time you two really had something. But that something is just an old memory now. You have to start something new. So don’t sit around just waiting for things to fall into place, Lori, you have to work for what you want.”
The brothers sat quietly after that, Lysander smiling, watching his wife dancing with his father, Lorcan studying the table top. Thought raced through his mind, his brother's speech had left him reeling. He resolved to take Lysander’s advice and to do so quickly. He looked up and spotted Lucy, walking alone away from the party.
Lysander watched with amusement as Lorcan stood abruptly. “Going somewhere?”
“I have to do something.” He looked down at Lysander, nodded once, and strode away.
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