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After Hours by llyralen
Chapter 10 : Luck Be A Lady
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7


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Standard Disclaimer: I own nothing but my imagination. JK Rowling owns the rest. Furthermore, the cast list mentioned below is a list of people I envision to be the characters and is only provided to serve as visual aids for the reader. I have, in no way shape or form, any means to actually procure these actors to be my characters. Thank you!

Rebecca Hall as Molly Weasley
Deborah Ann Woll as Lucy Weasley
Keira Knightley as Rose Weasley
Karen Gillan as Lily Potter

Tom Hiddleston as Teddy Lupin
Henry Cavill as Gorgeous Nigel Parkey
Matt Smith as Toby Benwick
Aidan Turner as John Mayhew
January Jones as Victoire Darvish nee Weasley
Chris O’Dowd as Carl Darvish
Natalie Dormer as Dominique Weasley
Leonora Crichlow as Roxanne Weasley


 


Chapter Ten
Luck Be A Lady






 

Rose hated running, especially in heels, but this certainly had to trump everything so help her God!

Why the bloody hell did her alarm have to ring half an hour late? Why did her curling iron have to fry up? And why, tell her for sodding Merlin’s sake did a cab never appear in London when you needed it?

Given the situation, she didn’t have a choice. She had to run. In heels. In her bridesmaid dress. Across London. And if that wasn’t enough, well then add her mobile ringing every five minutes.

“What!” she yelled as she flipped it open midstride. Didn’t even have to look at the ruddy thing to know that it was Molly on the other line.

“What? You bloody well have the cheek to ask what?! It’s Victoire’s wedding, if you didn’t remember and you’re a bridesmaid!”

“Oh for goodness sake, I know that muppet!”

“Well if you know that, then why aren’t you here!” Rose could hear it in her voice. The vein in Molly’s head was throbbing again and if she’d been there to see it, Rose would have winced in fear. But as it was, she was still a long way from the apparition point and thus not easily thrown off.

“I’ll be there sooner if you weren’t such a pest. Stop calling me already. I’m running as fast as I can!”

“Not fast enough apparently. Everyone is here. The bride is here. The groom is here. The bloody sponsors are here! What more are you waiting for? The Pope? Sent out an invitation, but no, I don’t think he’s coming so might as well get on with it!” Here was the thing. When Molly got angry like this her voice rose an octave higher with every sentence. Now, with the length of that little speech, she might have reached super sonic. A sound only dogs could hear. Lovely way to make you run faster, if you knew what was good for you.

Sadly, Rose did not. She was panting, she was sweaty and she was far from wedding ready. She was pissed off and had just come off the heels of a long-drawn starvation diet to even fit in to the horrid mess that was her current attire. She wasn’t in the mood to be yelled at (or in this case, dog whistled at) so what came next was something Rose had never had the strength to do, and would likely never do again.

She put down the phone on Molly.

Now that was enough to get the fear turbines going. A rush of adrenaline pumped down to her feet, making her run on sheer panic. Not exactly the most graceful thing in the world, but certainly worth a tryout for the Olympics.

Finally she reached the dark, dank, need it be mentioned, puddle-ridden alley that was her regular apparition point and with a crash of lightning, she popped out of one place and appeared…

…in a less than savory place. Right in the middle of the church.

Did she mention that the world could swallow her whole now?

“Well,” she laughed. “Isn’t this a great turn-out?” Words Weasley. Speak sense! Come on girl! “Umm… Hello there. My name is Rose Weasley. I’m a cousin of the bride. But then again, who isn’t?” What? No laughs? That was a prime joke! Tough crowd. “The bride asked me to come out just to say…” To say what? I love you? “… just to say that the ceremony will be taking place in a few minutes. They’re just taking care of a few glitches with the priest.”

Run Rose! Run!

Immediately, she went for a less than poised mad dash for the back room only to find that she’d not gone to the bride’s side as she’d planned, but rather the groom’s.

And of course, this wouldn’t be her life if she didn’t enter a room where quite a few of the groomsmen were still getting dressed. It was a church back room, not a locker! Why couldn’t they get dressed in their own houses like she did. Oh look. Hugo had his pants down. Not exactly the first she wanted to see of him after five months abroad. Perfect. Just bloody marvelous.

“Rose!” her little brother said, pulling up his trousers and doing his belt as tight as his current shame. “What are you doing here?!”

“Steady on there. Nothing I haven’t seen before. No need to be shrinking violets because of me. Carry on.” It went as a general statement to the whole room. After all, a vast majority of those present were her cousins. The only creatures of mystery left standing were Carl’s friends and the significant others of her cousins. Still, it paid to make them feel comfortable. What? She’d had boyfriends before (though not recently). You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Rose took a deep breath and decided to be the mature adult here. A rare role for her to play, mind you. “Let’s not get into this, lads! I’ve had a long… long morning and I don’t really need this to sink in right now. So, why don’t you all just put on some clothes, point me to the bride’s side and we can pretend like this whole thing never happened, yeah? And feel free to reverse the order.”

Toby, sweet boy as he was, did the honors. A polite smile on his face, he took Rose out of the room, and led her across the hall to the hencoop.

“Ladies,” Toby knocked. “I brought you a present.”

Opening the door, Rose thanked her lucky stars that unlike the hopeless gentlemen across the hall, at least her people were pressed and dressed. One point women, zero men.

Lily bypassed Rose (even pushing her to the side) to wrap her arms around her lovely lad, giving him a kiss, and thanking him for playing delivery boy.

Was Rose going to receive as warm a welcome? Don’t bet on it.

“ROSE!” Molly yelled above the collective (yet not synchronized) sentiments of ‘where have you been?’ She rushed toward Rose and looked as if she were about to ram her to the ground. And she was right, throbbing vein included. “What happened to you! You look like a cat that’s had a little roll in the tumble dryer? You’re hair’s a mess. And how did you even manage to melt all your makeup away?”

“Oh for all the,” Rose flailed her hands up, exasperated. She practically ran, alright! She deserved a medal for that, not a bloody roasting. “I’m here, I’M BLOODY HERE! No need for a fuss. Let’s get me fixed up and get this ball rolling shall we? We have a girl who needs to get married!”

And like the magic words that brought Ali Baba his lifetime trust fund, so did Rose’s words miraculously growls to sighs and anxiety to excitement.

Well…except for Molly of course. She was immune to the sappiness of weddings. But even she had to reign in the death glare for a while as the music started playing and their cue came in.

Rose only wished the lads got dressed in time!

***






The ceremony went well enough. But then after the fiasco that was Rose’s entrance, how could things get any worse? Nobody tripped on their dress, Victoire’s veil didn’t catch on fire, no one was yelling protests against the happy union. All in all, it was ran quite smoothly.

It didn’t take long for the couple to finally say their I-do’s and sooner rather than later, everyone found themselves out of the church and in a tent by the beach near Shell Cottage.

The time to get plastered had arrived.

And wouldn’t you know it, a few hours after the wedding and people still needed a lesson on fidelity.

Yes, yes, yes. The concept of monogamy was quite clear. Once you had a bloke, it was time to close up shop. No more sampling. Either you bought the cow or jogged on. Every single person in that table had a man waiting at home. In Victoire’s case, it was a wonderfully timid man who she’d only just married. With Roxanne, it was the ruggedly handsome lad who’d recently decided to grow a beard for her, even though it made his chin itch. And in Dominique’s case, it was her current experiment at convention—her secretary slash boyfriend of the week. Every woman in that table thought that life was lovely. In fact, it was more than lovely. It was brilliant.

But the fact still remained that being monogamous didn’t mean you had to be blind. Look but don’t touch.

Dominique bit into the celery stick and released a moan that one should never make when eating vegetables. “I bet it’s something exotic like Rodrigo. That’s it.”

“Don’t be silly,” Victoire giggled. “I bet it’s something…oh I don’t know…something proper. Like Henry. Henry sounds better than Rodrigo.”

Roxanne shook her head. “You’re both wrong. I’m sure it’s something poetic. You know like Tristram. Lysander. Orsino, even!”

“You’re seriously saying you wanna shout Orsino while in bed?” Dominique cocked an eyebrow.

“Well it’s better than shouting Henry, Victoire,” Roxanne laughed. “Or Carl for that matter.”

They all joined in as Victoire turned a rare shade of I’m-embarassed-but-still-giddy red to compliment her divinely white wedding gown.

Lily found them like that—sitting down, sighing, and biting their lips, salivating like rabid dogs—all while staring at Gorgeous from across the room as he took Lucy for a spin around the dance floor. What a wedding party indeed. No need for fit groomsmen when you had Gorgeous to ogle at.

She put down the drinks in front of them and blocked the view. “Didn’t the aunts ever teach you it’s rude to stare?”

“Oi,” the bride herself protested. “Step aside! He’s about to face our way.”

Lily took a gander only to roll her eyes. “He has his back turned to you.”

“That’s not all that’s turned to us,” Dominique growled.

Brilliant. The reception suddenly became Ladies’ Night at the Leaky Cauldron. “Don’t be so cruel, Lils. Step aside. We’re being appreciative. I mean look at that man. Just look at him. His bum is so tight I bet it could crush a walnut!”

“Roxanne! Your boyfriend is just three feet away from you. You do know that, right?”

A rumble of laughter erupted from the crowd of dates sitting around the next table. Roxanne’s aforementioned boyfriend, John, was one of them. He raised his glass out to Lily and nodded a thanks, though he didn’t seem to mind Roxanne’s comment at all. Now that was security for you.

Still, though. Roxanne’s eyes were glued on Gorgeous and his perfect bum. The old gal pushed Lily to the side, making her almost trip on her ridiculous dress. With the view cleared, the older Weasley girls sighed in chorus.

“I don’t know how you girls do it, Lily. How can you see that bum everyday and not give even one little squeeze. It’s just so lush,” Dominique downed her drink in a single go. “Now I understand why you guys hang around that pub so much. Fabulous! Absolutely fabulous.”

New people were always like this in front of Gorgeous. Man or woman, the occasional under-aged stalker. They just couldn’t resist the urge to stare. For goodness sake, even Lily stared when she first met him. Fresh out of Hogwarts, she came to the Cauldron with her cousins to cheer her up from the recent discovery that she’d been a gay beard only to be introduced to the most handsome man she was ever likely to meet.

Rose called him Gorgeous and that he was. He had a jaw like an anvil, hair like storm clouds, and a smile that could burn a hole in the ozone layer. Five minutes into staring at him, it was ‘Scorpius who?’ Well, maybe not entirely. Lily was still a sobbing mess, but the toothsome morsel in front of her was a brilliant distraction.

If Gorgeous had been single then, perhaps she would have ended up dating him. After all, Lily was the kind of girl who went after things she wanted, no hesitations made. But luckily for her, he was still preoccupied with his then girlfriend, Imogen. As for Lily? Well a month later, she would meet Toby. So in the end, everything did turn out splendidly. Win-win situation.

Raising her shot of Firewhiskey, Lily sighed a laugh. “To monogamy. Don’t touch, but you can look all you want!”

“I’ll drink to that!” Dominique jumped up, raising her glass high and knocking down the shot quicker than a pirate grabbing rum.

After a few more rounds (and a lot more conversations about Gorgeous’s bum), things took a turn for the light-hearted. For the first time, Lily found herself in the company of happily committed people. Hanging around with her lot, Lily never got to experience this level of…oh what was it? Maturity? If it wasn’t for Dominique’s less than subtle way of dismissing men as mere things to dabble in when one was bored, the company would have all together been too foreign.

And if things weren’t weird enough, what Victoire said next was enough to send Lily to the deep end of insanity.

“It’ll be you next.” She said it in such a happy way. As if Lily would be happier for having heard it.

Quite the contrary though. It stopped her mid-drink and almost caused her to choke. What was it about marriage that always made her choke?

“Me?” she coughed out, trying to act as normal as possible. Lily made a mental note to herself. She shouldn’t be so jumpy every time people brought up the idea. Though it couldn’t be denied that the idea was sodding bonkers. “Toby and I have barely been together for…”

“Two years?” the new Mrs. Darvish laughed putting up her feet on Dominique’s lap, a foot rub not so far away. It was her wedding after all. “Come on Lils. Carl proposed to me after six months. I will bet you all the shots in the world that boy already has a ring hidden in his sock drawer.”

“I’ll take that bet and say the ring is on the bread tin,” Roxanne banged her hand on the table. “Young Benwick doesn’t look like he hides things in sock drawers.”

Dominique scoffed as she finally gave into her big sister’s not-so-subtle-hints. “You’re both wrong. He’s a kindergarten teacher. Bloke keeps things in the bottom of a pencil holder. Tell me I’m wrong.”

“You’re wrong. You all are.” The whole topic was making Lily’s head swirl. Was it the alcohol? Why were her palms getting all sweaty? “Toby and I are not at that stage just yet.”

All three of her older cousins rolled their eyes. They passed on their knowing smiles as if Lily had just unknowingly referred to some private joke they shared. But she was on to them! Lily knew what they were up to.

Her breath became shallower. Her voice became quarter of an octave higher. “Well what about you Roxanne. You and John have been together for five years now. He hasn’t popped the question.”

“And he never will,” she threw off the question casually before turning around to her boyfriend and winking. “John doesn’t believe in marriage. Neither do I.”

“Well what if Toby and I are the same?”

“Come off it. Take it from someone who’s dated every kind of tosser out there,” Dominique scooped Lily around in her arms and gave her a tight hug. “Toby Benwick believes in marriage. And you do too. Listen to your elders Lily. You’re next.”

Then, just like a proper thriller, Toby popped out of thin air – surprising Lily with a kiss on the cheek. For goodness sake! As if she needed more reasons for her heart to race!

“There you are. Been looking for you everywhere.” Toby crouched down and took Lily’s hands, giving them a quick kiss. “I see you girls have been busy. No doubt talking about us poor lads behind our backs.”

“Know us so well! Practically a member of the family.”

If it wasn’t her wedding, Lily would have kicked Victoire under the table for that.

“Do you mind at all if I steal this one away for a quick dance?”

Why would she not want to marry this man? Why! WHY! She was happy. He made her happy. They were both happy. It was all bloody perfect! Snap out of it Lils before you bugger everything up!

“Do as you like, love. Don’t let us stop you two.” Dominique shoo-ed them both away. But not before throwing Lily a sly wink.

The band was playing an old song. Slow but surprisingly upbeat. If there was anything Toby was better at than teaching children and cooking, it was dancing. Oh her Toby could dance. Lily had his sisters to thank for that one. All three of them went to ballroom dance classes. All three of them forced Toby to be their partner. Dancing with Toby was almost like kissing him. It made you light on your feet and light-headed at the same time.

Taking a hold of Lily’s waist, he lifted her up and spun them both round, never missing a beat of the music. Lily laughed like a fool and immediately blushed as soon as her feet touched the ground. She buried her face in Toby’s chest and laughed into him. She could feel him laugh too. He kissed the top of her head and held her tight, leading them both smoothly to the center of the dance floor.

“Having a good time?”

“Yes. Excellent. You?”

“Pints with the fellas and a dance with you? Couldn’t be better.”

“Mrs. Victoire Darvish,” Lily sighed. “Still can’t believe she’s married now. Seems that everyone’s getting married these days.”

“Graduation season has ended and the wedding season has begun. I’m pretty sure baby season is right around the corner.”

“But it’s a bit young isn’t it? Early twenties, that is.”

“Victoire is thirty-one, love.”

“I know. I meant other people. Like,” for a moment, Lily had to restrain herself from saying us. Instead, she went for the closest thing she could think of. “Let’s say Gorgeous and Lucy decided to get married---”

“Hold on there. Isn’t this their second date?”

“Well Molly and Rose are convinced they’ll end up eloping and having a rabbit hole of babies without even giving us so much as a warning.”

“Bit unlike those two.”

“I actually think it’s very possible. You know how Lucy---“

“I meant Rose and Molly. Bit unlike them to be so syrupy about things. As for Lucy, she’s a romantic and I wouldn’t be surprised either.”

Lily decided to take a deep breath before going on. Obviously, she wasn’t making any sense. It was the alcohol. It was just the alcohol, she told herself. Lily simply ignored that she’d had much more before without even feeling the slightest effect. She needed something to pit this entire confrontational mood on.

“Well go on,” Toby smiled. “You were saying something.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is,” she sighed. “If Lucy and Gorgeous suddenly decided to get married, it would be ridiculously hasty of them.”

“And I agree. They barely know each other at this point.”

“That and they would be far too young for it. She’s only twenty-four. Barely even comfortable with herself enough to be that committed to a whole other person.”

“You’re talking as if you’re forty.” He was picking up on it. Lily just knew Toby was picking up on where this all came from. Why Lily was so keen on pushing her point. She would be found out then this would all turn into a big fight.

And yet, her boy did as he always did. He agreed.

After a long pause, Toby sighed. “I suppose you’re right. It’s too early to make life-changing decisions. You might end up regretting things.” Not even so much as a defense for his side. He just gave into Lily’s argument as if he’d read an entry in an encyclopedia that convinced him that she couldn’t possibly be wrong.

Did he really not notice what she was trying to get at? What they were really discussing, underneath the entire pretense?

“Exactly.” Lily didn’t know why, but a stabbing pain suddenly thrust against her chest and she wasn’t sure where it came from. “Exactly…” she repeated.

Part of Lily wanted Toby to out-right tell her that she was being silly. But he didn’t. He agreed with her. And as much as she wanted to win it – their first semblance of an argument – disappointment prodded at her, tensing up her body and dropping the levels of euphoria that had, only a moment ago, been at a soaring high.

The song was still upbeat, but on Lily’s lead, their pace slowed down as she wrapped her arms around Toby’s waist. Lily kissed his chest before laying her head atop it.

She’d made Toby see things her way. Yet, part of Lily felt as if she’d lost the silly little argument rather than won it.

***






Would you really be surprised to see Rose make a beeline for the open bar as soon as the reception started? It was her soothing salve, the only thing that could make the particularly hideous day a bit less hard to bear. She’d apparated in the middle of the church. She’d walked into a room of half-naked groomsmen (who were all far from sexy because they were either related to her or taken by someone related to her). And finally, she was alone.

Molly was on her mobile talking to the same bloke who’d been ringing up her phone bill for the past week. Lily was busy with Toby. Lucy was busy with Gorgeous. Even bloody Scorpius was busy with the waiter he’d been chatting up since the whole ordeal began.

As much as Rose counted herself a strong, independent woman, a little company never hurt.

Her fifth glass of vodka down the hatch, she was about to order another when a familiar, if not cozy presence, sat down beside her. Even his voice felt like a hug even though his words felt like punch in the face.

“Trying to create a false deficit of alcohol?” Leave it to Teddy Bloody Lupin to make a joke as unamusing as that. Tops, he was.

“Funny was never your strong suit,” Rose decided not to attack him with a sudden hug. Impulse control. Besides, they were at their best when sarcasm was the playing field. “Tell me Teddy, when are you doing to dump me?”

“Slow down. Haven’t even taken you out on the town yet. I thought girls were supposed to wait until the lads got enough guts to ask them out?”

“Bollocks Teddy. Isn’t the sixties. Chop, chop now. Skip the dating part and dump me already. My biological clock is ticking. Aunt Muriel just said so.”

“Well if Aunt Muriel said so, then it must be true.”

“She knows things. She just does. Maybe I should ask her how why every single one of your exes ends up finding their future husband after dumping your sorry bum?” It was true! Case and point, the current happy couple met an approximate week after Teddy decided to accept an assignment in Asia and Victoire decided it was better if they broke up instead of pushing through with a long distance relationship.

There were a dozen more examples, alright maybe just three more, but Rose didn’t want to go through them all in her head. Fact was fact. Dump Teddy, find your soulmate.

“You make me sound so pathetic,” he said, signaling the barman for a drink and another round for Rose. “I did the dumping from time to time, you know.” But that didn’t seem to satisfy Rose or her smirk. The look on her face,that raised eyebrow and challenging glare just prodded him like an annoying finger to the chest. “I don’t know. Call it a coincidence. I know I do.”

“No, I think I’d rather call it the kiss of death. You, my friend, are the single girl’s last stand.”

Suddenly the fake tension broke and Rose buckled into giving him that big hug she’d been threatening from the start.

Teddy gave her a kiss on the cheek as the pulled apart. He leaned back into the bar and took a good look at her, smiling while he was at it. “How’ve you been Rowboat?”

Rose burst out laughing too scandalously to be called sober. And yet, that was what she still was. It wasn’t the bloody booze that got her this way. It was the fact that even decades later, Teddy was still treated her like a five-year-old with pigtails and bad teeth. “Well that was a relic from Gran’s closet. How can you still call me that! Even my dad doesn’t call me that anymore.”

“Forgive me if I’m old fashioned but I rather like it and I’m not likely to call you anything else.” He downed his shot in one go. Man after Rose’s own heart. “Seriously, how are you Rowboat? How long has it been?”

“I just said. Three months. Don’t even write to your favorite fake relative. Don’t they have quills in those cells they keep you in?”

“They do. I just hate having to pluck them straight from chicken arses.”

“But you have managed to pluck up a sense of humor. Well done!”

“Saw Molly on my way in and she told me to come straight hee and cheer you up. Told me your were feeling a bit down, though I didn’t think it was this low. See any dinosaur bones where you are?” Something about Teddy just made bad jokes seem funny.

“Right! Now that hurts. Say hello to Molly before you say hello to me. Some kind of mate you are!”

“Not a mate. A fake relative,” he pointed out.

“Fake relatives write. And give presents.”

“Didn’t say I came home empty handed. Here. Got everyone in the family the same present. But you get it in brown because you’re special.”

It wasn’t really something you would call a present. And it certainly wasn’t special. It was a badly made stone owl with dried black-eyed peas for eyes and what seemed to be a moldy corn chip for a beak. As Teddy explained later on, it was supposed to fly around when you tapped it with your wand, but Rose’s was special. Instead of flying, it sort of just waddled around in your palm, making it look more like a muddy penguin than an actual owl.

Nevertheless, it made Rose smile. Bottom of the barrel gifts had become an inside joke between her and Teddy ever since she gave him chewed up gum for his birthday. Given that she was only a toddler at the time, but it had stuck with them through more than twenty years of friendship.

Rose gave Teddy a tight hug and gave him a kiss on the cheek, wiping the lipstick off afterwards. “It’s brilliant, Ted. Thanks. I love it.”

“You can thank me by telling me how the bloody hell you are! Come on. Out with it before I literally twist your arm into a confession.”

“Fine, fine,” Rose threw her hands up. “To be honest, I’m not exactly the most chipper of people today. Things have been a bit rotten. Maybe even more than a bit. The fact that Scorpius has chucked me to the side like a piece of year old cheese to chat up some waiter just makes me feel worse. But I’ll be back to sorts in no time. Don’t you worry your pretty little head.”

“Would a dance help?”

“A dance? What brought that about?”

“Came stag. Want to dance. You’re the only free bird around.”

“Charming. Bloody charming, you are. Ladies should be falling in line just to pluck the stubble from your chin so they can wear it around their necks in a little vial.”

“I was in a hurry. Didn’t want to miss my portkey. I’m sorry if madame doesn’t approve of the stubble.”

“And that jacket,” Rose pushed him on the chest. For goodness sake, it had to be older than he was. Patches all over, color faded. Shabby chic was a lie and Teddy had to get with the program. “Merlin’s bleedin’ beard, Ted. You make good money. It won’t kill you to buy another jacket.”

“Hold the wardrobe advice. I like this jacket just as it is. But maybe you’d want to go through my luggage? Left it at the coat check. Would you prefer something to match your ball gown here,” he took her hands and gazed upon the vision that Rose truly was.

“Oi! Don’t push it. And why bother? There’s no fixing you. Besides, a new jacket would just be strange. This one is so shabby chic.” And the lie lives on.

“It just comes so naturally to me,” Teddy laughed. “Come on. What do you say? I even requested a song and everything. It’s cheesy and unbelievably disgusting. I think one line even compares a broken heart to a tuna sandwich in the rain. You’ll love it.”

“Bloody hell, Teddy-Lou. Don’t go all desperate on me now.”

The name had just slipped out without her noticing. And with that mad glint in his eye, Rose knew that Teddy had caught it. Her Teddy-Lou. What the hell? It was only a dance. There was lots of time to be bitter afterwards.


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