Chapter 4 : Not a Date
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He had enlisted help from Fred and Molly to find the Muggle shop the day before. Saturday he had picked his clothes with care-it wasn’t a date. That was the most important thought running through his head. A plain pair of jeans and a vintage band tee proclaiming The Weird Sisters on the front and the tour dates on the back. Ginny had bought the shirt and some music for him, tearing up a little when he had liked it, which he still didn’t understand. After making sure he had what Harry assured him was an appropriate amount of Muggle money in his wallet, he apperated into an alley close by and walked the couple blocks to the café.
Natalie already there, wearing a pair of khaki’s and a light blue shirt. She smiled and gave a small wave as he walked over. “Hey,” she said as he sat himself in the chair across from her. “I gotta work later, sorry about the clothes.”
He shook his head. “You look fine, don’t worry about it.”
“Where’s Christian?” she asked.
Teddy was surprised by the question. “He’s at his grandparents. They wanted to keep him for the weekend.”
The waitress walked over. “What would you like?”
“Lemonade and a chicken salad croissant,” Teddy said.
“Coffee and Banoffee pie, please.” Natalie smiled as the waitress walked off. “I love Banoffee pie.”
Teddy nodded. They sat in silence for a moment, Teddy’s shoulders pulled in closer to his ears than normal, his hands clasped tightly together. “I…Merlin, I’m sorry. I’m not to used to this, I guess.” He chuckled, smiling tightly. “Sorry.”
Natalie shook her head. “Wow, Teddy. Okay, so…how about we play twenty questions? I ask you a question, we both answer it, and then you ask me a question.”
He nodded. “Okay. Umm…how old are you?”
Natalie’s mouth dropped open, her hand covering her heart in exaggerated offence. “Don’t you know you never ask a lady her age.” The last word had barely left her lips before she giggled. “Joking. I’m twenty-three.”
“Twenty-five,” Teddy replied. “Quarter of a century.”
“Okay, my turn. I’ve already asked about your family…” Her eyes lit up. “What’s your favorite kind of movie?”
“Action, definitely.” He was suddenly happy Fred had an obsession with muggles to rival his grandfathers-though he was much better in the muggle world than Arthur was.
“Oh. I like them all. It doesn’t matter what they are. I mean, I’ll watch a b-rated sci-fi flick and love it just as much as an a-list high profile movie.”
She frowned at him. “Is that your next question?”
“No, no.” He sat back for a moment, looking at her. “Do you like to read?”
She grinned. “Yes. I’m really into pop culture, so if it’s popular, I’ve read it. I mean, I like to read other stuff too, you know? But yeah, I like to read.”
“I do, a little. I have some books my parents had that my nan gave me. They’re pretty good. Some of my younger cousins love reading, though.”
The waitress walked up then. “And here’s your order. Let me know if you need anything, okay?”
They both nodded as she walked away. Natalie grabbed her fork and took a large bite of her pie. “Oh my god,” she said, her mouth full of pie. “You should have got some.”
“Like it that much, do you?” he said.
She nodded. “It’s one of my favorites. I love dessert, though, so…” she shrugged, taking another large bite.
Teddy shook his head and picked up his sandwich. “Well, that’s good to know.” He shuffled in his seat. “Anyway, it’s your question.”
“Oh, right. Umm…do you play sports? I don’t, but I do run everyday.”
The only thought that ran through Teddy’s mind was Quidditch. He played Quidditch. He loved Quidditch. He was spared answering, though, by someone clapping him on the shoulder. He jumped, looking around. “Oh, hi Harold.”
Harold nodded. “Ted. I didn’t know you were going to be in my part of London today.”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s was umm…I haven’t seen you in a while. Uncle Dudley doing okay?”
“Yeah, he’s fine. Mom too, before you ask.” Harold’s eyes flicked to Natalie. “Finally dating, are you?”
Natalie shook her head. “It’s not a date.”
“Oh. Is it something to do with work? Some kinda scary thing I should know about? Because, listen, that mag—“
“Geez, you know, Harold, last I heard you had a girlfriend.” Teddy was unnecessarily loud, to cover the word Harold was about to speak.
Harold and Natalie both looked confused. “Dude what—oh.”
Teddy barely held back a relieved sigh as he realized Harold understood. “Yeah, Natalie and I just met when I took Christian to a park the other day. We’re just having coffee.”
He nodded. “Well, it was nice meeting you, Natalie,” Harold said, holding out his hand.
“You too,” she said, though she didn’t look sure about her words when she shook his hand.
“Well, I’ll see you later, Tedders. Tell Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny I said hi for me.”
Teddy nodded. “Yeah, sure thing.” Harold walked away, glancing behind him and throwing his hand up before leaving the café.
Teddy sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Sorry about that. He’s my godfather’s cousin’s son.”
She creased her brow, studying him. “What did you stop him from saying?” When he didn’t answer, she sighed. “Teddy? Is there a like, hoard of raving animals I need to worry about?”
He shook his head. “No, nothing like that. He just tends to get overly worried about certain things.”
She looked at him for a moment before shaking her head. “Whatever. So, what exactly do you do at work?”
“I fight for rights and make sure nothing happens that isn’t supposed to. It’s boring, I told you. There isn’t much to say.”
She nodded. “So…how did you…no.” Sighing, she looked up at him. “I actually can’t think of a thing to talk about right now. That’s really weird. You can ask any of my friends. I always have something to talk about, but since I don’t, do you have any ideas?”
“Tell me about yourself. What you like to do. Whatever you want to say.”
She took a sip of her coffee. “There isn’t much to tell. I’ve told you all about my parents and my sister and my niece. Other than my job, that’s pretty much my life.”
“What, no friends?” Teddy asked, though his tone was playful.
Natalie rolled her eyes. “Of course I have friends. But with schedule conflicts and some of them going off to uni and everything…it’s been hard keeping in touch. Didn’t you have that problem after school? Where’d you go, anyway?”
“Oh, it was a super small private school. Actually, at least half the school was my family or friends of the family so…it’s kinda hard to do anything without seeing at least one person I know.”
She smiled. “Like your cousin Harold.”
“Yes, exactly.” Teddy smiled.
“Take me through your family tree. Just all of it.” She looked genuinely interested.
“You don’t know what you’re asking, Natalie. It’s huge and complicated.”
She grinned. “Try me.”
“Okay, but I’m only doing the small part.”
True to his word, it took a while to get through only the cousins and their parents, but once especially since Natalie seemed determined to memorize his entire family. “So, you married your godmothers niece. And your grandmother is related to your other grandparents, both of them, in a way, and they’re both related as well—
“It’s really far down the line though, like I said.”
She nodded. “I can’t imagine ever having a family that big. It seems like it would be very loud.”
Teddy smiled, relaxing back into his chair. “It is loud. And sometimes every cramped. The year before Gran decided to move all holiday dinners outside, the entire family tried to sit around the same table even with the enlargement cha—“ Teddy’s eyes widened as he stopped. Merlin, you need to watch what you’re saying. “Chairs and pieces. To make more room.” He added. “What about your family though. I know you have your sister Sarah, Emily and Sarah’s husband but…?”
Other than a furrow of her brow, Natalie didn’t question him. “Yeah. Sarah’s husband is Michael. Then it’s just my parents, Mathew and Angie.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket. “Oh, shoot. I gotta go. Hey, why don’t you give me your number and I’ll text you later? We can hang out more.”
“I don’t actually have a phone. I’m going to get one soon, though.” He regretted saying that the instant the words were out of his mouth.
She nodded. “Okay then. Umm, I guess I’ll see you around.” She flashed him an unsure smile as she stood and walked out of the café.
Teddy put his head in his hands. “That was terrible,” he groaned to himself. “And now I have to buy a phone. Because Muggles love the blasted things.” Sighing, he stood. I really need to watch what I’m saying around her. To Gringotts, I guess.
Teddy walked into the large concrete building. Fred had inherited his grandfather’s love of all things muggle and, since he was Teddy’s best friend, Teddy was well practiced in blending in with muggles. Fred even had a lot of muggle technology in his own home. Teddy didn’t share the enthusiasm, but it was moments like these he was eternally grateful for Fred’s obsession. He walked into one of the shops and looked at the phones. It didn’t take long for an assistant to come help him.
“Looking for a new phone?” the blonde woman asked with a smile.
Teddy nodded. “Yeah. I don’t know much about this, actually. My family was never big on technology when I was a kid and I’ve never actually messed with phones much.”
Her bored expression changed to a curious one. “Oh, well then. What are you looking to do with your phone?”
“Just talk to friends, I guess.” He looked around at all of the small rectangles. It was strange, what muggles came up with to keep in contact with each other. “It’s just weird telling people I don’t have a phone when they ask for my number.”
“Well, I would suggest this one, personally. It’s widely used and nearly everyone knows how to operate it, so it should be easy to get used to. Of course, if you don’t like this one, we have…”
Teddy listened as intently as he could, but he didn’t understand half the words coming out of the shop assistants mouth. Once he picked his phone and plan (he could talk to other people clear across the country in seconds. The wizarding world really needed to step up its game) he left the shop, a smile on his face.
He left the mall and apperated to Fred’s house, hoping his cousin could show him how to use a phone. “Teddy!” Fred yelled, a grin on the younger boys face. “It’s been ages. Listen, Molly, Roxi, and me are going out to dinner tonight. You should stick around and go with us. The girls are getting ready now.”
“Only if you help me with this thing,” Teddy said, holding up the phone.
“It’s a deal.”
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