Title: How Convenient.
It felt empty to have finished Hogwarts. Of course you become excited. The rush of graduation, the thrill of finishing that final N.E.W.T examination you killed yourself over for weeks. But once you step foot on the train that one final time, it is like the end of an action-packed, thrill novel. The book is closed and the magic is lost. I felt uneasy, quiet. A little nauseous perhaps. Heather O'Hara pulled me through the aisle with childish glee, a smile sparkling on her tanned face. Friends danced together throughout compartments, threw streamers and made colored sparks with their wands.
Maybe I was the only one feeling ill. Anxious.
We sat together during the ride back to King's Cross.
"What are you doing this summer, Victoire?" Brenden Gribbin asked from the seat across from me.
I managed a little smile. "My family and I were supposed to go on holiday to Greece, I hope we are able,"
"Ooh," squeaked Marissa Harding. "I always wanted to go there!"
I didn't say anything. This sparked a whole new conversation about vacations and packing and Muggle airlines.
Time went so slowly while riding the train. My heartbeat kept jumping out of time. On top of it all my palms were starting to moisten while they laid facedown on the scratchy seats.
"…but we arrived with our luggage anyway," I heard Heather finish whatever she had been rambling on about.
"Bren, are you going on holiday?" asked Marissa. Her pipe-squeak voice wrenched itself a hole in my eardrum.
He looked away, shaking his head. Strands of dark blond hair swept into his face. "Staying home,"
"That's too bad," I felt myself mutter. "Maybe Mum would let you come along this year,"
Brenden glanced up, and shrugged. Smiled too, the first time all afternoon. I had known him my entire life. The Gribbin's lived several miles away, but were the closest neighbors we had. Never would I ever forget when we used to play faeries or some other dumb made up game in his woods. Most of time he'd feel funny playing a faerie so he would turn into a dragon or sea monster instead.
"You should be taking Ted,"
The name felt like a stab with a dull piece of glass, right to the stomach. I felt my eyes twitch.
"I don't know,"
Heather looked at me in disbelief. "Of course you would ask Teddy first,"
Teddy Lupin had been my boyfriend (if that was the right title), on and off for four years. I had been fourteen, and that would have placed him at age sixteen. Once he graduated the relationship withered in autumn and bloomed again in summer. He was a quiet, introverted person. Romantics had never been Teddy's forte but he learned. I received nothing short of twenty four trimmed red and pink roses every St. Valentine's Day. Carefully wrapped parcels on Christmas, and chocolate eggs on Easter. We strolled through parks while holding hands and if it would happen that I would shiver, his coat would soon drape over my shoulders.
No one else ever occupied my eye, but Teddy. He swam in my dizzy daydreams during Transfiguration, when turning a cat into a bathrobe just wasn't appealing anymore. His skin was always warm enough to press my hands to if they were cold. Every word he said was correct, even if it were wrong and it usually was. I knew it somewhere in my silly girl brain anyway.
We all want that perfect, perfect boy to charm us till the point of lightheadedness. But not every girl will tell you. I never would.
I never once let Teddy know that I have loved him. That I always have and probably will until death, no matter who places a wedding band on my finger one day. I think that sometimes good moments need to last longer, like when Teddy and I would sleep together. Not sexually, either. The aftermath. I would curl against his chest, rest my messy blonde head in the crook of his arm and sigh contentedly. Like the purr of a feline who ate all the fish.
His chest was lean, with little to no muscle. Paler than his limbs because it never saw sun during his broomstick travel and work at Gringotts. A job my father had readily provided. A gold pentagram charm was always there, glinting against his skin. I played with it quite often, enjoying the coldness of the metal and sharpness of the sides of the piece. Teddy would breathe for awhile in silence before he would speak. I'd wait, counting the numerous birthmarks scattered around his lower torso.
He would tell me brilliant, clever things. Loving things that only two people should hear said out loud together. Not all of it would be about the sex. Some of it would be about how perfect for one another we were. Or how his heart hurt when I left every September for school, or back after the holidays. He'd whisper over my neck, or speak directly at my chest where I could hear my heart dance. Teddy Lupin was my existence, however much he had managed to harm me.
"I can't believe it is over," I heard Brenden say. I blinked, wondering if he had been hearing what I had been thinking.
How would he know the letters from Teddy stopped in April? Or how mine just were never sent at all?
But alas, he had been speaking of our past seven years.
I grinned. "I know, don't you feel old?"
He nodded in agreement. "We're not kids anymore,"
But I never quite felt like one at all. When Teddy came, I wasn't allowed. Childhood was playing faeries, not playing with hearts.
I'd take the faerie any day.
I stumbled off the train and right into my mother's arms. Of course, I was squished between Dominique and Louis. She hugs as if we had been gone for several years instead of a few months.
Dad rambles about classes, but my eyes search for that certain dusty brown hair covered head. It usually was that way anyway, when he didn't make it morph.
I found it too quickly and too far away.
"I wonder how you did on the Charms test," Dad said to me. I smiled and nodded for him.
"I think I did excellent,"
"…well, darling," mutters from both parents and the yelps of happy grandparents came from behind them.
Teddy was hiding.
I left unseen because everyone seemed to be fussing that someone in Dominique's dorm had cut her hair a few days ago.
He came into view soon enough after I fought tooth and nail to get through the waves of people.
Teddy was leaning against a stone column, stamping out a funny looking cigarette he had been smoking. As if his eyes didn't want to find me, they hazily stared out into the crowd while half closed. I exhaled loudly.
"How went the N.E.W.T.S?" he asked. What a pointless formal question.
"Just lovely," I said sarcastically.
He nodded. Everything seemed wrong like I had feared. What was different? Last summer he had carried me through my own front door. Now he behaved as though we just met.
"What were you up to since April?" I tried saying it nicely, but out came "Did your Owl croak or something?" in a rude voice that was so unlike myself.
His eyes opened fully. "No,"
We stood in silence. The creeping end of an era feeling made my skin flush and prickle. I didn't feel right inside my own flesh.
"I fell in love,"
I said nothing. I didn't even breathe.
"With Diane Foust," Teddy added.
Her name now bled on my heart, too.
"Why?" I managed to say.
He seemed uneasy. "I dunno Vicki…she loves me too,"
"You were never in love with me," his voice…so victimized. He was happy, he was loved! I was the one who was surely now dead inside.
"C'mon Vicki…" His eyes tried to look at me as they once had. So bright and warm…but it didn't work. A shiny dullness was all that was there now.
I fled down the station. People move for a crying tall girl.
I ran until I hit something solid and thankfully it wasn't a wall.
"Hey there, Victoire." said Brenden's soft voice. "What's wrong?" he added, getting panicky.
I just shook my head. I secretly wished Teddy would come running after me with apologies and kisses, but I also wanted to die for thinking that way.
"Ted is in love." I managed to say. "Without me,"
How he even heard the quiet tone in which I spoke is so amazing, I don't understand how it is possible.
For the first time in a long time, Brenden pulled me into a warm hug. He didn't like to be hugged or touched by anyone. It was part of his look as a standoffish loner. Of course it had the opposite effect on most girls. It made them want him more.
"Then he doesn't know what he is missing," he said into my hair. "To love you,"
I hadn't understood that at first.
But now, months later, I do. Surely dead should have been a term used figuratively. Brenden and I go to his woods often now, once again as we had as children. But not to play, but to dream. To wonder what is to become of us as adults. And I get to touch him more and hug him, and run my fingers through his mop of hair. Because love should take place twice, between two people equally or never at all. Not that I don't love Ted. I just love Brenden more.
And that's most convenient.