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Chapter 1 : A Lifetime of Memories
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“Of course,” I muttered under my breath as I looked around the kitchen. There, right next to my kitchen sink was a pile of chopped mint leaves still on the cutting board. Had I really cut the mint and then just forgot to add it to the potion? There was no salvaging it now. With a wave of my wand, I got rid of the foul smelling potion and ran my hands over my face. Half a day was now wasted because of my careless oversight.
“Get it together, Lily,” I muttered to myself as I filled up a glass with water. If I kept this up, it wouldn’t be long before I lost my position on the Potion Development research team at St. Mungo’s. As a second-year healer trainee, being appointed to a research team was unheard of. I was working alongside the best potion-makers to develop treatments that could help heal patients and ease their pain. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was actually doing some good in the world. I’d never forgive myself if I screwed up this opportunity.
I heard the birds chirping outside my window and I let out a deep sigh as I leaned onto the kitchen counter. Savouring the moment, I sipped slowly and watched two chickadees flutter from tree to tree. Summer was my absolute favourite season and I envied all the happy people strolling about in the sunshine. My time in the sun would have to wait. I needed to re-do this potion before I could even think about heading outside. As I scooped the mint leaves into a small glass jar, I felt a flutter in my stomach. I returned my gaze to the bustling street below and a smile immediately appeared on my face when I saw Lorcan. He was dressed in a sharp black suit and was walking quickly through the park right towards my flat. His blonde waves glistened in the sun and I felt my heart race at the thought of seeing him.
I ran over to my bathroom and gasped when I got a look at myself in the mirror. My face was streaked with hardened blue splotches and my frizzy red hair was about four-times it’s normal size.
“Oh no!” I untied the cream apron from around my waist and threw it across the hall into my bedroom. I leaned in closer to the mirror and saw that I had chunks of the foul-smelling healing paste in my hair. I heard a buzz come from the living room and cursed under my breath. Of all the times for Lorcan to come surprise me, he had to choose the exact moment when I looked like a sweaty pygmy puff. The smell was horrible. I couldn’t let him see me like this! I spun in a circle, desperately searching for my wand. Where was it? I hopped from one foot to the other, wiggling my fingers as I frantically tried to recall where I had left it. I had used it two seconds ago, it couldn’t have just disappeared. The knock at the door jolted me from my thoughts and called off my search.
“Coming!” I yelled as I turned on the water and scrubbed at my face. Looking in the mirror as I dried off, I let out a small sigh that I had managed to get the blue paste off my face, but groaned when I saw that I far from being presentable. There was no time to sort my hair. I grabbed a purple silk scarf from my bedroom floor and tied it around my head as I ran to the door.
I opened the door and saw Lorcan standing before me, his right hand poised to knock again. The look on his face told me that scarf must have done the trick. His whole face lit up when he saw me and he quickly pulled me into a hug before either of us said a word.
“What happened?” Lorcan asked, pulling away from me. My hand immediately touched the scarf around my head, ensuring that it was still in place.
“Oh nothing,” I said, catching a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror. My cheeks went bright pink. Clearly, I had overestimated the power of the scarf. “Just trying to alter my latest attempt at the Wound Paste to see if I can do away with the side effects.”
“Oh,” Lorcan said as he unbuttoned his suit jacket and hung it in the closet. “That makes sense. When you didn’t show, I was worried something happened. I should have known it was work related.” He chuckled as he rolled up his dress shirt sleeves and kissed me lightly on the cheek before he sat down on the couch.
“Didn’t show,” I repeated. My brow furrowed as I racked my brain for any trace that I knew Lorcan and I had something planned for today. My mind was a complete blank. As I took in his outfit, I wondered if it was work-related. As an Auror, Lorcan didn’t get dressed up for work that often. Especially not in a suit and tie. Maybe it was a case involving Muggles?
“I’m so sorry, Lorcan,” I whispered, taking his hand in mine. “My mind is complete mush today. I think it must be the looming deadline for the potion trials.” I let out a deep sigh. Before I had even graduated from Hogwarts, my potion making skills were well-known in the wizarding world. During my final year, I competed in the first ever International Potion Competition - and placed first. Much to everyone’s surprise, I didn’t take any of the prestigious jobs offered to me that year. Instead, I accepted St. Mungo’s scholarship to complete my healer training; it was definitely the best decision I had ever made. But my past successes didn’t mean anything if I couldn’t produce viable test potions.
“No worries,” Lorcan said, but I could see that his eyes were clouded with concern. He leaned forward and took my hands in his. “I know how much pressure you’re under right now. I completely understand how it could have slipped your mind. Do you remember how we were talking about taking a picnic once the weather warmed up?"
“Well, that’s what today was. We were going to meet in the park by the pond and have a picnic lunch.” He shrugged and gave me a shy smile. I felt awful. He had planned this incredibly cute date and I couldn’t even remember us discussing it. “It’s not a big deal,” he added when he saw my eyes fill with tears, “the summer has just started, Lils, there will be loads more picnic days. I promise.”
I moved closer to him and rested my head against his chest. I felt Lorcan’s heartbeat, and as I breathed in the fresh citrus and warm cardamom, I knew that there wasn’t another place in the entire world where I felt so at peace. I was resolved to make up for my absentmindedness.
“All right, Scamander,” I said, leaping up from the couch, “give me a moment to freshen up and we’ll go have that picnic.” He ran his hand through his hair and grinned at me.
“You’re fine,” Lorcan said getting up and grabbing his suit jacket from the closet.
“Oh no,” I said, guiding him back to the couch. “If you’re going to look like that, there’s no way, I’m leaving the flat looking like this.” I stood in front of him, gesturing from the scarf around my head down to the baggy sweats and bare feet.
“I don’t see what you’re going on about,” he said, reaching for my hand. “Your shoes are right by the door. I obviously didn’t mean that you’d have to go bare foot.” He winked and pulled me closer.
“Lorcan!” I screamed and then fell into a fit of giggles. “Have you completely lost it? Look at me.” When he raised one eyebrow, as if to say that he didn't get my point, I ripped the purple scarf off of my head.
The look on Lorcan’s face was priceless. “It’s… it’s not… Lily, it’s not nearly as bad you think,” he stammered. It would have been far more comforting if he didn’t look as though he was about to burst into laughter at any moment. His shoulders shook and I heard a soft whistling sound come from his nose. We stood there, laughing until we were both out of breath.
“Lils?” Lorcan asked when our laughter had finally subsided. He had his arms wrapped tight around me and I looked up to meet his gaze. His hazel eyes were gleaming and his face was flushed.
“Yes?” I said.
“You do look perfect just as you are. Crazy hair and all.”
I beamed up at him and raised up on my toes so that I could kiss him.
“I love you, Lorcan Scamander.”
“I love you, Lily Potter.” He took a small step back, his hands caressing my face. “Lily, I swear, I had this all planned out…and I so wanted this to be perfect, but I just can’t wait a moment longer.”
My eyes were wide as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small blue box. My hand, shaking ever so slightly, covered my mouth as I registered what was happening. Lorcan got down on one knee and opened the little box.
“Lily Potter, will you do me the incredible honour of marrying me?” He hadn’t even finished asking the question before I nodded, grinning from ear to ear. When I finally managed to squeak out a ‘yes,’ he slipped the engagement ring on my finger. I threw my arms around him and laughed as he spun me around the room.
When he set me down, I extended my left hand and, for the first time, saw the ring that would remain on my left hand for the rest of my life. It was a simple gold band with a square cut emerald stone; I was amazed at how, without even a single conversation, he knew the exact ring I would have chosen for myself.
Lorcan pulled me into his arms and we swayed back and forth, keeping time to our own silent love song. “It was perfect,” I said quietly, and I heard Lorcan hum his agreement in my ear. My heart was full to bursting and my face hurt from smiling. But this time when I looked up into the eyes of the man I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with, I couldn’t remember his name. A wave of panic coursed through me and left me standing there paralyzed. His hazel eyes shifted form joyous to worry when he felt my body tense. As I studied the golden flecks in his dark green eyes, I willed my brain to fire back with the information I needed. I counted ten seconds before it finally did. I let out a huge sigh of relief. Lorcan. I felt my body relax and I tugged gently on this royal blue tie, guiding his face closer to mine. Placing my hand on his cheek, I kissed him. As I ran my other hand through his soft curls, my eyes filled with tears for a reason that had nothing to do with joy and everything to do with fear. This wasn’t memory loss due to stress. This was something far more serious.
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