“Here you are Healer Lupin.” The young, blonde witch behind the counter beamed a smile at Teddy as she sat a cup of tea and several scones in front of the man. “Anything else I can get you?” she asked, twisting a strand of hair around her finger.
“That's all. Thank you, Avery.” He couldn't resist throwing a wink at the girl. She might have been half his age, but she was quite gorgeous and what man wouldn't be flattered by her excessive and daily flirting. He smiled as her cheeks flushed with red and leaned on the counter. “I've be-”
“Now that can't be Teddy Lupin.”
The man froze at the sound of a voice behind him: smooth, sexy and laced with hints of Italian and French accents picked up from extensive traveling. A smile stretched across his lips as he slowly turned around and looked at the woman speaking to him. His eyes widened as he greedily eyed her from her smooth, softly curled red hair, over her shimmering pouty lips, down her slender, fashion savvy body all the way down to her long legs perched on deep blue heels. He swallowed audibly and held out his arms towards her.
The woman beamed and threw herself into Teddy's embrace, wrapping her arms so tightly around him he groaned. “Gods I've missed you, Teddy.”
“Well you wouldn't miss me so much if you came back more often. What's it been? Six years almost?”
“Almost.” She pulled away and tucked a bit of hair behind her ear. “I just got in. My hotel's down the way a bit, thought I'd come see if you were in before I headed over to mum and dad's.”
“Well I'm glad you did. Come, sit with me. Just having my break now.” Teddy turned back to the now-scowling blonde and pointed behind him. “Can I get another tea for Lily please?”
A few minutes later, Teddy and Lily sat down at one of the outdoor tables of the St. Mungos tea room, scones and tea for both. Teddy pulled out a pack of cigarettes and rolled his eyes at the scoff he received from the woman.
“Don't you dare start lecturing me.” He pointed at Lily with mock threat and lit up despite the frown on her face. “So how's Milan treating you? Ready to pack up those designer handbags and come home?”
Lily shook her head slowly, a smile pulling across her face. “Not a chance. I love my job and besides, I've been in New York for the last few months. Won't be back in Milan until January.” She tipped her head in defiance and lifted her tea. “And how are you doing? I heard about....” She trailed off, biting her bottom lip.
“You heard Vic got remarried?” Teddy laughed under his breath and took a long drag from his smoke. “I'm fine. We've been divorced eight years now, I didn't expect her not to move on with her life.”
“What about you? Are you moving on with your life?”
“Are you asking if I'm dating anyone?” Teddy raised his eyebrows and waited for Lily's nod before answering. “I've tried. Nothing's really lasted past a few months. What about you; any men in your life?” he asked, looking at the table innocently.
“One or two. Nothing serious; can't really settle down when I'm traveling all the time.” Lily laughed silently and shook her head. “Not that I want to settle down. I like my freedom, thank you very much.” She sipped her tea and smirked. “You know, I'm starting to get the idea that I interrupted something with Miss Blondie up there.” She pointed discretely towards the counter where the young witch was now slamming things around in her irritation.
Teddy laughed and relaxed back into his chair. “Nah, you didn't interrupt. She'll be around; you'll be gone again...?”
“Friday?!” Teddy huffed and narrowed his hazel eyes at Lily. “You've been gone this long and you're only staying four days? That's bullshit, Lily.”
“I'm a busy woman. I can't just take time off, fashion waits for no one.”
“But this your dad's sixtieth birthday. It's a big deal. He's finally retiring, you know?”
Lily sighed, ignoring the man's frustration. Half an hour melted under the two as they chatted about vague life events, the potential new heads of the Auror department and Lily's upcoming fashion show. Teddy furrowed his brow and looked at his watch with distaste.
“You have to go?” Lily smirked at the man's annoyed expression and giggled. “It's fine; you have big important Healer stuff. I have to get to the house anyways. I have a new niece to meet.” She pushed her empty cup away and pulled an exasperated face. “Can't believe Albus is on number six. Those two need a television...or a hobby.”
Teddy laughed loudly and rubbed at his mouth. “I wanna see you again before you go.”
She nodded and got to her feet. “Same here. I'm having dinner with James tonight, but I'm free tomorrow. What do you say?”
He hurriedly scrawled out a restaurant and time upon the back of his receipt and handed it to Lily. “You got yourself a date.” Teddy winked, his dark hair tinting with the faintest of blue.
“Good.” She grinned and headed for the door.
He watched the red-head take her leave, his eyes never moving from her form. Once she was gone, she shook himself to attention and pushed away from the table. “Damn it, Lupin, get your head together,” he scolded himself before following Lily from the tea room.
The next night didn't come quick enough, if you asked Teddy. He checked his tie, for what had to have been the fifth time, in the glass of a car window as he passed by the valet station in front of his chosen restaurant. The man brushed his fingers through the sides of his hair and breathed hotly into his hand; he threw a mint into his mouth for good measure.
He was expecting to arrive ahead of Lily; that seemed customary with women, though for the life of him, Teddy couldn't understand why they insisted on being late on purpose. His hazel eyes flecked with green and grew wide as he spotted her already waiting just inside the restaurant door. For one, he couldn't believe she was early, but mostly because he'd never such a stunning pair of legs in all his life.
“Y-you're here,” he stuttered out dumbly, flashing Lily his most charming smile.
She pursed her lips in amusement and laid her hands upon her hips. “Were you expecting me to stand you up?”
“No! I just meant that you're here on time. I didn't....” He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the floor, trying to pull himself together. He wasn't used to being the one taken off guard by another.
Lily merely laughed softly and slipped her arm around his, tugging him along. They followed the hostess to the table and soon after, they sat with glasses of red wine perched in their hands. And on Lily's insistence the food came in the following order: two slices of strawberry cheesecake, salmon and rice for her while a rare steak came to him and then two neat garden salads.
Teddy eyed his company over the top of his wine glass as he tipped back the last of his third serving. He let out a small chuckle as she nudged a slice of tomato across her salad plate, a giddy smirk upon her lips. “You -” He caught himself, deciding his words were better left unsaid.
“I what?” She relaxed back into her seat, her brown eyes narrowing with intrigue.
“I was going to say...that you....” He pressed his lips tightly together and focused exceptionally hard on a tiny spot on his cloth napkin. “Are very different.”
“Well yes.” He grinned, still refusing to look at the woman. “I mean typically a person orders a salad first; just for the record.”
Lily grinned and nodded. “Yes, well I'm obsessively opposed to the typical. I did things the typical way for years and it got me nothing. Once I started living as I wanted, that's when I found myself; when I found my happiness.”
“So you are happy? You don't miss everyone?”
“You misunderstand me, Teddy.” Lily sighed and folded up her napkin, then placed it gingerly on the table. “Of course I miss everyone here, but what is there for me in this world? Settle down, have kids, work at Madam Malkins for the rest of my life? I don't think so. Yes, I could visit more, but....”
“I'm sorry,” Teddy leaned forward, his hand reaching out and laying softly on top of Lily's. “I didn't mean to imply th-”
“It's fine.” Lily looked up, that usual happy sparkle back in her eyes. She brushed her thumb over his fingers and gave him a soft smile. “Are you ready to go?”
The man nodded and together they took their leave, choosing to share a taxi rather than attempt Apparation in their wine laced state. Lily's gaze remained on their joined hands the entire ride, neither of them voicing the situation. As the car pulled to a stop in front of Lily's hotel, she gave Teddy's hand a squeeze and met his eyes. The look on her face was clear: come inside. He didn't need words to get the idea; they left the taxi together. The silence followed them as they rode the lift to Lily's floor and headed for her room.
Her fingers hesitated with the key. She turned back, face falling. “What are we doing?” she whispered, shaking her head and letting her hand drop from the door.
In answer, Teddy slipped his arm around the woman's waist and backed her against the wall. He lowered his lips onto hers, the sweet taste of red wine and lip gloss lacing their kiss. He moved with surety and skill, his hands caressing her waist and sliding across her back to rest. Their embrace became breathless and heated.
“I'm leaving soon,” she begged, forcing her mouth away from the man's.
“I'm not asking for forever,” he whispered, leaving a trail of kisses down her jawline and onto her neck. “I'm just asking for tonight. One night of this; of us.” Teddy's fingers played the side of Lily's coppery curls, his thumb brushing gently against her flushed cheek.
“Can you though? Can you be happy with only one night?” Lily's body curved into the man, her head tipping to the side as he nipped her ear.
He nodded into her neck and held her closer. Lily's heart raced as she pulled from his hold and frantically unlocked the door. The two disappeared in the doorway, slamming it closed behind them.
Only sunlight stood as a wake up call for Lily, the parted curtains allowing it to pour into her hotel room and wash over her face. She grimaced, a small pounding in the front of her head reminding the woman that she'd had too much wine the night before. A heavy weight lay across her stomach in the form of Teddy's arm, bringing a frown to the woman's delicate face. She tipped her head back into the pillow, letting her eyes close back as she attempted to roll onto her side and out of the sun's harsh reach.
Feeling the movement, Teddy groaned and pried his eyes open, casting a soft and sleepy smile at the woman beside him. He pushed one hand into his bright blue hair, still tinted from the night before. “Good morning,” he mumbled, pushing himself up and glancing around. He stretched his back and rubbed his eyes, searching the ground for his clothing.
Five minutes of stumbling around the hotel room left Teddy in his boxers and dress shirt. He yawned and started for the bathroom, wanting to splash water on his face to wake himself up completely. His hands pressed into the edge of the sink, his gaze only half focusing on the counter. He looked once, not registering the glint of gold. And when he looked again, realization dawned over the man.
“What is this?” he called out, carefully plucking a diamond ring from the bathroom counter. The man pinched the gold between his fingers and carried it back into the bedroom, holding it out like something foul that had spoiled in the refrigerator.
Lily stopped putting on her shirt and stared wide-eyed at the ring. “It isn't what you think,” she voiced quickly.
“This isn't a wedding ring?”
“It's a wedding ring.”
“And it's your wedding ring?”
She was hesitant. “Yes.”
“Then it's exactly what I think!” the man bellowed, tossing the offensive trinket onto the near-by end table. “You're married?” He dragged his hands back through his hair, his face twisted in disgust at both himself and Lily. He shook his head desperately as though the simple act of denying the truth would make it no longer exist.
The woman tugged at the hem of her shirt and sighed heavily. “I'm engaged; not married.”
“Does your dad know?” he growled, snatching his trousers off the floor.
She rolled her eyes and perched herself on the edge of the disheveled bed. “I didn't want to ruin his moment. It's his time; not mine. And...I don't even know if I'm going to go through with it.”
“What about all that stuff you said at the hospital? About liking your freedom. A bunch of lies!”
“No!” Lily whipped her head around, her eyes flashing in anger. “I meant it. I do like my freedom, that's why I-I don't know if I'm going to marry him.”
Teddy just snorted in indignation, his head hanging. “I can't believe this. I thought we really had a connection.”
She laughed; bitter and high. “A connection? Yeah, we did. That connection was called too much wine and too long since our last good shag.”
“Don't be a bitch.”
“Wow, talk about mood swings. Excuse me if I'm trying to keep it real. You asked for one night and that's what you got. Don't start in about having connections and all that rubbish.” Lily waved him off and turned her back to Teddy. “Just go.”
“I would go if I knew where half my bloody clothes were. I can't even see my shoes.” Teddy growled in his upset and tossed his trousers back to the floor, his cigarette pack still clutched in his hand.
The sound of a lighter spun Lily around on her spot. “Don't you smoke that thing in here,” she spat, pointing towards the balcony door. She put on a rather smug look when the man obeyed without question. With Teddy on the balcony, puffing away, the woman turned her attention to finding the last shreds of their hastily discarded clothing.
She'd just pulled on her skirt and was in the midst of adjusting it when a knock fell upon the door. Her blood ran cold; she wasn't expecting anyone. “Who is it?” she called out loudly, slowly heading for the door. When no answer came, but instead a louder, more irritated knock, she peeked out of the peephole and frowned. The person was standing to the side of the door, out of view. “Who is it?” she snapped.
“It's your father!”
A Note From the Author: Thank you for reading. Reviews are always welcome. Want to say thanks to LilyFire for throwing me the Teddy/Lily ship on this one, because I had no idea who I should use for it. :) --Jenna
“I'm obsessively opposed to the typical.” - The Fame by Lady Gaga