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Teddy throws their phone down on the bed and watches as it bounces against the mattress, still attached to the charger in the wall. They let out a sigh, listening to T. Rex playing softly from the shitty iPhone speakers, then pull the covers all the way up to their ears. Well, shit.
"Jesus Christ, Remus," Paddy—or sometimes Dad , if they're out—is saying one morning, when they're all having breakfast. "In what world do you spell conjugate as cnogugate? "
Teddy would snort, usually, probably into their glass of apple juice or around their toast, but now they haven't touched the carton of juice only they drink from, and their toast is still plain and it's gone cold and Teddy doesn't want to touch it. Their leg is bouncing underneath the table, and they almost feel sick and they can't say anything.
"What?" Dad asks into his coffee cup, leaning over to look over the crossword him and Paddy does every morning while eating breakfast. "Oh, buggering fuck. How did I manage that?"
"I don't know," Paddy says, "why are you asking me?"
"It was a— Whatever, nevermind." Dad shakes his head, taking a sip from his coffee before grabbing the eraser next to the newspaper.
He drags the eraser over the fragile paper, careful not to crinkle it, and when he writes conjugate again—presumably correctly this time—Paddy says: "We need to go shopping later, and I need to pick up more contacts at the… the fuckin'... eye doctor thing."
"The optician," Dad says. Paddy nods, pushing his purple and black glasses up his nose. Teddy chose those glasses when they were five, because they didn't need glasses themself but desperately wanted the purple ones, so Paddy got them instead, and he still wears the same frames nine years later. Even when his prescription changes or when he decides that the lenses have gotten too scratched, he picks the same purple and black tortoise shell frames. Teddy likes that; the thought that their dad loves them so much that he still wears the same old glasses and still keeps an old drawing Teddy made on the fridge, even though Dad only wants important papers and notes there.
It makes Teddy smile, at first, and then the nervousness settles again, deeper than before, more wrenching than before. Their dads love that Teddy, who picked out purple tortoise shell glasses and drew pictures to put on their fridge, and maybe they won't love them when they say they're not really that Teddy anymore.
"What do we need to buy, then?" Dad asks, reaching for the little notepad on the counter behind him.
"Bread, some fruit and veg, probably, milk," Paddy says. "Er… I'll text you whatever I come up with during the day. Teddy, do you want anything? More juice, maybe?"
Teddy shakes their head and picks up their piece of toast, then tears away the crusts. They won't eat it, they can't right now, but their hands are shaking and they have to do something to occupy them.
"Ted?" Dad looks up, probably because he can't hear Teddy shake their head and wants to hear them say something, but then he sees Teddy's pale face and stops writing in his notepad. "Hey, bud, you alright?"
Teddy can't breathe properly and their leg is still bouncing furiously underneath the table and the toast is torn into bits and they can feel a lump of nausea, just in the back of their throat and they're so nervous they might cry. They shake their head.
Paddy turns around in his chair so he's facing Teddy as well. He pushes his glasses up his nose with the same hand that's holding the coffee cup, then he takes a sip of coffee and it all happens in some weird, swift motion that Teddy almost misses, and they focus on that very motion instead of the anxiety churning in their stomach. Both of their dads are staring at them, frowning and so evidently worried and Teddy wonders why they chose now, this very Wednesday morning, a week and a half after Googling and thinking, to say it out loud. To come out.
"What's going on?" Paddy asks. Teddy shakes their head again, and Paddy glances at the clock on the microwave behind them. Teddy knows that means ' we have, like, half an hour for you to spit it out, eat your breakfast and get dressed before we leave,' but he doesn't say anything else and neither does Teddy.
"Teddy," Dad says, slowly and carefully, setting his cup down onto the table, only missing setting it down onto his own piece of jammy toast by a few millimetres. Teddy chokes on a breath, and they notice they can feel tears prickling behind their eyes and the lump in their throat grows larger and they try to think about the pushing-up-glasses-coffee-sip motion, but all they can think about is how their dads are going to react when they say it out loud.
Maybe Dad or Paddy, or both, will shake their heads and say you're only fourteen, it'll blow over, it's just a phase. There's no such thing as 'genderfluid'. Maybe they'll nod and smile tightly and then just ignore it with some offhand comment about how it can't be and keep saying he and son and keep referring to Teddy as Edward when they do something wrong, and it burns in their chest just to think about it. You're only fourteen, it's just a phase.
Teddy swipes their hand over their eyes before the first tear even falls. Their leg is bouncing so much that it jiggles the table, and they sniff a couple of times, swallowing past the lump in their throat before whispering, "I think I'm genderfluid," so quietly they can barely hear it themself.
"Oh," says Dad, and Teddy lets out a sob. They can hear the grunt from his Dad when Paddy kicks his shin underneath the table, and it makes Teddy want to laugh but when they try, it only comes out as another sob.
Paddy is on the floor next to Teddy's chair after only a second. He grabs Teddy's hand, and then Dad is there too on Teddy's other side with his chair so he won't have to crouch, and Paddy says, "Hey, it's okay."
Teddy shakes their head yet again.
"What?" Dad says, grabbing Teddy's other hand. "Do you think it's not okay, or do you think that we think it's not okay?"
It takes Teddy's brain a few moments to process just what the fuck that sentence even means, and then they say, "I don't know," choked through tears and that thick, acidic lump in their throat.
"It is," Paddy says, and he sounds so determined that Teddy can't do anything but believe it.
Dad lets go of Teddy's hand and wraps his arm around their shoulders instead, pulling them close, and Teddy puts their face in the crook of Dad's neck and lets themself cry. They feel how their tears soak the hem of Dad's jumper, and he rubs their shoulder as Paddy runs his thumb over their knuckles.
"It's so okay, Teddy."
Teddy nods, like a small, uncoordinated head jerk against Dad's shoulder, squeezing Paddy's hand at the same time.
They wonder, briefly, what this would've been like if it weren't Remus and Sirius Lupin-Black that adopted them when they were a baby, and they were instead going through this exact same thing with another family, who might have told them that it's a phase they'll grow out of. Maybe another family would give them a curt not and a tight smile, yet still say he and son and Edward when they do something wrong. Maybe they wouldn't ever have any other family that would hug them by the kitchen table and squeeze their hand and argue over typos and feed their addiction to apple juice and let them dye their hair turquoise or green or dark blue once a month like Dad and Paddy do.
Harry and Teddy are cousins but they're so close Teddy sometimes thinks they're siblings, and they're sure Harry thinks that way too. Harry is only a year older than Teddy but he likes to pretend he's a much older brother and it's evident with the way he says kid and bud and scrubs Teddy's head and smiles when Teddy talks about something that interests them.
Teddy is probably more scared of coming out to Harry than they were about their dads.
Dad pulls up on the driveway by the Potters' house, and before he unbuckles his seatbelt, he turns around and looks at Teddy in the backseat and says, "Do you want to tell them?"
James is cooking spaghetti Bolognese when Teddy, Dad and Paddy walks in. Lily is sitting on the kitchen counter next to the stove, laughing her loud, hearty laugh that rings through the house. Paddy is in the kitchen before Teddy has toed off their shoes.
Home, Teddy thinks, is a weird word. Their bed after a day at school feels like home, Dad's arms wrapped around them and Paddy's laugh feels like home, crosswords and apple juice and turquoise hair feels like home, Lily's laugh and James' goofy grin and Harry's red and gold bedroom feels like home. Home is a weird word when there's so much of it, in so many places and circumstances.
Home is people who love you, no matter what. Home is brothers and parents who smile and nod and say thank you for telling me , home is Harry ruffling Teddy's hair and James' confused-turned-goofy grin and Lily's happy tears and relief in Teddy's shoulders. Home is a weird word with so many definitions and Teddy thinks it's a word that doesn't matter to them.
"I need new socks," Teddy says over Modern Family one Friday evening, sitting cross-legged on the sofa next to Dad, who's scrolling mindlessly on his phone. Paddy is sitting on the floor—he says it's his natural habitat—with his laptop on the coffee table. His fingers dance over the keyboard, clicking furiously as he writes some lesson plan for the year twelves he teaches.
"Mhm," says Paddy. He stops writing for a second to push his glasses up his nose, then returns to the click-clack that echoes a little over the telly.
"Didn't we buy you new socks like a month ago?" asks Dad.
"Two months ago," replies Teddy. "And I…" they bite their lip, squirming a little where they sit before they say, "I think I want some, like, 'girl' clothes." They cringe at the word girl, because clothes aren't binary like that, thank you very much, but it's easier to explain with that word, they think.
"Mhm," Paddy says again. Dad smiles and pokes the side of Paddy's waist with his toes. Paddy cringes and bends sideways in a motion Teddy didn't think his body could handle in order to get away from Dad's bare feet, mumbling something about "Sweaty fucking feet," as he does.
"Teddy wants to go shopping, Sirius," he says. Paddy waves his hand, then pushes up his glasses again.
"Sure, sure," he mumbles, "just check the budget, aye? And no lewd shit, they're only fourteen."
"I want new clothes," Teddy says, "'m not shopping to become a—a fuckin' stripper, or something."
"Language," says both Dad and Paddy at the same time.
"What? You both curse like there's no tomorrow," Teddy yawns. They push themself further into the corner of the sofa and crack their knuckles, and their eyes go back to the telly. "Bloody hypocrites, you are."
"We can at least pretend to be good role models," Dad says, then shuts his phone and stands. "We'll go shopping tomorrow, we've got nothing better to do. D'you want crisps?"
"So it's okay, then?" Teddy asks. "The—the clothes I want?"
"Yeah," Dad says. "Crisps?"
They go to the shopping centre the next day, Teddy and Dad, while Paddy stays at home and tidies the flat. He wants to, apparently. Teddy will never understand how anyone can want to tidy the house, but Paddy thinks it's relaxing, like Dad likes to cook and Teddy likes to noodle on the guitar or do stupid BuzzFeed quizzes—and gender quizzes, their useless brain supplies. Teddy shakes that thought out of their head.
Dad mostly just stands awkwardly next to Teddy as they pick out two three-packs of black socks and look at flannels and hoodies in the men's section, then slowly, carefully, makes their way to the women's section to look at the clothes there instead. When Teddy picks out a flowy top with a turtleneck and lace sleeves, Dad snorts, and not because it's a flowy top with lace sleeves, but because it's black, just like all of their other clothes. When Teddy looks at a dress, only to hang it back again because they're scared, Dad says, it's okay, bud , and Teddy beams and grabs it again.
When they pay, the woman at the register smiles and asks if it's for a sister or friend, if Teddy wants a box or a bag to wrap it in as a present, Dad shakes his head and says, it's for them , and the woman smiles directly at Teddy instead and says, you have great taste.
When Teddy and Remus come back home with a shopping bag from the clothing shop and two bags from Tesco, Paddy is knocked out cold in a weird sprawl across the sofa. Dad smiles that smile he only gives Paddy; full of love and adoration, then he leans forward and brushes the long strands of hair from Paddy's face to kiss his forehead. Teddy smiles as well, then they go into their room and try on the flowy lace sleeve top, grinning like a maniac as they twist and turn in front of the full body mirror in their room. This feels right.
Teddy is—rather unceremoniously—massaging in turquoise hair dye onto their yellow-ish bleached roots when they notice it. A faint, scarce scattering of hair on their chin and upper lip. They stop massaging turquoise hair dye over their scalp.
No, is the first thought to cross their mind. No, no, fucking no, I don't want it.
Teddy tries to breathe through the panic rising in their chest, tries to keep slathering on hair dye as if nothing is happening but they just end up tugging at their fringe and their eyes are unfocused on the mirror, trying to stare at the scattering of facial hair instead of the mop of actual head hair. They can't breathe and they suddenly want to rip their skin off and they can only think no, no, fucking no, I don't want to, I don't want it.
They let out a frustrated yell and punch the mirror-cabinet over the sink. It leaves a turquoise streak on the reflective glass and Teddy's knuckles start stinging immediately, but the mirror doesn't break or crack like they wanted it to. They punch the mirror again, then sink down on the ground and start sobbing.
They hate it. They hate that they're crying and they hate that their body does these things at times when it bothers them the most and they hate that they can't fix it and sometimes don't even want to fix it. They hate how complicated things feel and they wish they either were a blob of goo or that they weren't like this.
"Teddy!?" It's Paddy. His voice is rough and scratchy and he's banging on the door and Teddy realises that he was napping and they just woke him up with their mental fucking breakdown.
"Leave me alone!" It comes out thick through tears of anger and sadness and discomfort. Paddy starts tugging at the handle and Teddy thinks he might actually tear the door from its hinges, but they don't move.
"Open the goddamn door, Teddy!"
"No! Just… Go the fuck away!"
They hear Paddy walk away from the door and they let out another sob.
Everything feels so wrong and weird and just… not the way it's supposed to be and Teddy hates it so so much.
Paddy's footsteps come back, and then the bathroom door lock clicks and Paddy bursts in holding a butterknife. His hair is a mess, tangled and frizzy, his glasses sit askew on his nose and he looks both worried and angry. He throws the butterknife onto the bathroom counter and sinks down on the floor, close to Teddy.
"What's going on?" It sounds like a demand. Teddy stares at their turquoise stained hands, blurred through tears, and shake their head.
"Nothing. Go away."
"Cut the shit, Ted," Paddy says, as if Teddy isn’t sobbing on the bathroom floor with stained hands and a scattering of facial hair that isn’t supposed to be there. They let out another sob and gestures towards their face with some weird, unexplainable, noise. “What?”
“I don’t want it.”
“Fucking… beard,” Teddy sniffs with a vile, snotty sound and cringes. “I don’t want it it’s not supposed to be there.”
Paddy lets out a breath, then stands with a groan and gestures to the toilet seat. “Sit.”
It takes a full minute for Teddy to gather energy and will to stand, only to sit down on closed porcelain lid of the toilet instead. Paddy turns around to the mirror-cabinet, and frowns when he sees the two turquoise streaks there, but says nothing when he crouches again. Teddy isn’t really sobbing anymore, but tears are still streaming down their face.
"Look," Paddy says as he gets out shaving cream and a razor from the cupboard underneath the bathroom sink. "I know you don't want to hear it, but you're fifteen, it was going to happen at some point—" Teddy lets out sob again at that, ready to say I don't want to, I don't want it, but Paddy continues: "But I'll shave it off for you, okay? And then when you're feeling better I'll teach you, properly, so you don't have to come in and scare the living shit out of me when I'm napping."
Teddy sniffs, wiping their nose with a turquoise stained hand, then nods. Paddy crouches in front of Teddy on the toilet seat and sets down the razor in Teddy's lap and shaving cream on the floor, then he wipes the tears from Teddy's cheeks.
"Are you angry?" Teddy manages to croak out, and they hate the way they sound. They feel like they're five years old and just drew on the walls or something, ready for Paddy to yell at them. They don't feel like they're fifteen and just had a mental breakdown over the fact that they're starting to grow a beard.
"No," says Paddy, even though his tone is still clipped with that aristocratic lilt he gets when he’s angry or tense. "No, absolutely not."
"Okay,” Teddy says, even though they don’t believe him, not really.
Paddy smiles a bit sadly, then picks up the shaving cream and sprays a little into his hand before he slathers it on Teddy's chin and top lip. He grabs a piece of toilet paper and wipes off his hand, then he picks up the razor and says: "I'm not going to pretend that I understand exactly how you feel or that I know one hundred percent what's going on in your head, because I really don't, but I understand that it's hard, and I know you don't like it, so I'll just do what I can. And if it's not enough, if you want me to understand more or know more, then talk to me, or to Dad, and we'll listen."
"Yeah," says Teddy. Paddy nods and drags the razor carefully up their chin, then wipes off the shaving cream and the few bits of hair on a piece of paper. Teddy has seen him and Dad rinse their razors in the sink when they shave, and Teddy realises how much easier this would've been for Paddy if they stood by the sink instead, so he didn't have to crouch and waste a lot of paper.
"I'm sorry," Teddy whispers.
"Thank you for apologising," Paddy says. "Don't scare me like that again."
Paddy and Dad enroll Teddy in the secondary school Paddy works at for sixth form. It takes Teddy less than a day to start hating it. Passionately.
Four times before lunch their English teacher calls them Mr. Lupin-Black, and says Oh, you’re Sirius’ son, and it feels so wrong and disgusting that Teddy wants to vomit and cry and rip their skin off. Paddy had said that he talked to every teacher about using they and them pronouns, about just saying Lupin-Black if the teacher was going to insist on calling them by their last names. Teddy hates it.
Harry is in the year above them at the same school and he sits with Teddy at lunch, brings them out behind the school with his friend Ron where they share a cigarette while Teddy stares at their checkered Vans. Harry smiles and talks and says kid and ruffles their hair and Teddy still hates school.
They don't tell Paddy in the car when they're on their way home. They don't tell him and Dad when they eat dinner early, they don't tell them when they strum at their ukulele but refuse to sing because their voice doesn't sound right anymore even though it did this morning, they don't tell them when they shut the bedroom door and sink down on the bed and watch Riverdale so they can make fun of it with Harry later. They don't tell them because it doesn't seem reasonable; they can't expect everyone to understand and get it right after a day, but it also feels so wrong and it still hurts.
A week later, when Harry and Ron has dragged a grumpy Teddy behind the school again to smoke while Teddy kicks the gravelly ground, a tall girl with strawberry blonde girl joins them. Teddy recognises her from their English classes with Mrs. Perry (Teddy hates her so much it almost boils their blood), but they haven't spoken to her yet, mostly because she doesn't talk to anyone at all. She wears jean jackets and skirts and jumpers and heavy boots and necklaces and Teddy can't quite figure out if they want to look like that too or if they're just somewhat attracted to her.
She doesn't spare Teddy, Harry or Ron a second glance as she brings out a cigarette from her jean jacket pocket and sticks it between her lips, but then Ron says, "Shit, Victoire, I thought you were smarter than that," and the girl— Victoire, Teddy likes that name—glares at his freckled face with such a fiery gaze that Teddy thinks she might be able to set fire to Ron's already burning red hair.
"Fuck off, Ronald," she says. Harry snorts around his cigarette, then hands it to Ron. Teddy smiles.
"You know, I'm terribly close with my brother—I spill the beans to him every evening before bed, I'll have you know—and I wouldn't mind shooting him a text this very second, telling him that his darling daughter is smoking behind school."
" Fuck. Off. Ronald, " Victoire says again, and Ron only shrugs before taking a drag from his cigarette. Teddy grins and decides immediately that they like her and her cool exterior. "My dad knows that I smoke, for your information. He'll probably be more scarred about the fact that you do it, rather than me."
"Really?" says Ron. "Someone ought to take him to a parenting class then, if he's so okay with it."
"Ron," says Harry. "Stop self-projecting onto your… niece? Yikes, are you really an uncle? You know what, never mind, stop self-projecting, is the message here."
"Yes, Ronald, I believe you're quite finished," Victoire says. Ron's face goes through several emotions before it settles on something Teddy knows well: anger.
"Stop calling me Ronald," Ron says, glaring at his niece (Teddy tries not to think about how large and generally weird the Weasley family is to them). "I'm going back inside," he says, then, suddenly, and drops his cigarette to the ground. He stomps violently on it a few times, then stalks off, Harry hot on his heels.
Teddy remains where they are, and so does Victoire. They want to say something, because the silence between them is tense and deafening and Teddy has grown bored of staring at their Vans, and when Victoire has taken two drags from her cigarette and Teddy's mind has racked through all conversation topics they can imagine— the weather's nice today. What's your favourite candy bar? I like your jacket. Is Ron really your uncle?— they manage to say a weak, "Hi."
Victoire stares at them, and Teddy smiles back. "Afternoon."
"Have you ever smoked, Ted?" Victoire asks one day, when the leaves are turning yellow and orange and the wind grows colder. She has a new jean jacket with wool on the inside and under the skirts she wears leggings and high socks. Teddy still can't figure out if they want to look like her or if they just… want her.
"Do you want to try?"
Teddy pulls on their hoodie strings and ties them together, right under their chin so nothing but their (now green) fringe and face is showing. They shrug.
"My dad works at this school, you know," they say. Victoire smiles.
"'Course I know," she says, taking a drag from her cigarette. "He keeps grilling me about our algebra homework like it helps him breathe."
"He wouldn't be that bad if you actually did your homework, you know."
"Shut up." Victoire hugs her jacket closer to her chest, then proffers her cigarette to Teddy. "Do you want to try or no?"
"If my dad catches us, it's your fault." Teddy grabs the cigarette with their middle and pointer finger, then just stands, staring at the ashy glow at the top.
"You don't have to," Victoire reassures them. "Like, it's not cool or anything, to smoke, I mean. And I won't think less of you if you don't want to."
"No, I want to try," Teddy says. "Just… How?"
Victoire laughs, then grabs her cigarette again and puts it between her lips. "First, you suck smoke into your mouth." She demonstrates, and plucks the cig from her lips, then sucks the smoke down deeper. "Then you, like, inhale it to your lungs. Does that make sense? And then exhale."
Teddy grabs the cigarette again, then does as Victoire had demonstrated. It goes well at first, and Teddy finds that they don't hate the taste of smoke swirling on their tongue, but when they try to bring it down to their lungs, they cough. It itches and burns their throat and they just can't not cough.
"Jesus fucking Christ," they say as soon as they've caught their breath again. Their voice is rough and scratchy, and there are tears gathered in the corners of their eyes. Victoire laughs as Teddy hands her cigarette back.
"You alright, dude?"
Dude. Teddy coughs at that too, to cover up the weird whiny groan that escapes their lips. Dude. It doesn't usually feel wrong or weird for Teddy to be called dude or man , but today it does, apparently. They don't tell Victoire though.
Talking about their gender is always scary, always uncomfortable and annoying because people don't always understand. To Teddy it's all so fluid, always changing from masc to femme to both to nothing to what the fuck, shown with different clothes and forever confusion about how you even show something like the construct of gender. They mostly just stay in the what the fuck- area when it comes to clothes, and wear hoodies and skinny jeans to hide, with a t-shirt or that beautiful flowy top with the lace sleeves—which they've replaced four times now because they love it so much —underneath the hoodie.
Different things feel wrong at different times and it's so confusing, and definitely too confusing to say anything about it to Victoire. Dude doesn't feel good today, but Teddy doesn't mention it.
"I'm fine," they wheeze. "It's all good."
"Good," says Victoire. Then, "Perhaps you shouldn't smoke again."
"Probably not, no." Teddy pulls on their hoodie strings, securing them with another knot right below their lip. “My dads might kill me if they find out, anyway.”
“Maybe.” Victoire smiles around her cigarette, pale blue eyes glinting in the autumn sun. Teddy thinks they might die, a little, and thinks I wonder if I want to look like that, or if I just want her, for what must be the fifth time this week.
“Why do you smoke? If you don’t mind me asking,” asks Teddy, uncomfortably switching weight from one foot to the other. They’re not sure if they’re allowed to ask questions like that. Maybe it’s intrusive, or just disrespectful to just blurt out. Hey, why do you ruin your lungs on a daily basis?
Victoire takes a deep breath as she throws her almost burned out cigarette to the ground, then smashes it into the gravel with the toe of her boot. Her eyebrows crease together, and Teddy watches apprehensively as she takes one, two, three deep breaths, buries her hands in her wooly jacket pockets before looking up at Teddy again.
“I have anxiety.”
“It helps, in some weird way. It’s calming.”
“I know,” Teddy says. “Or, like, I don’t know, I don’t do it myself, but Harry smokes for that reason too. Or, well, he’s on meds now, so he doesn’t feel like he has to smoke for the anxiety reason, but he’s addicted, now, so—”
“Teddy,” Victoire cuts them off with a small smile tugging on her lips. Teddy feels a little out of breath, and they realise they’ve been rambling about absolute bullshit that Victoire doesn’t need to know about. “Shut up, love.”
Teddy realises that month, when the leaves are falling to the ground, creating a yellow and orange mosaic for them to walk on, that they don't only have one friend—Harry, and Ron too, they suppose, but mainly by association—but two. They have Victoire too.
Teddy and Victoire walk to the classes they have together every day, they text and send each other memes, laugh and joke. Teddy calms her down from a panic attack, at one point, and ignores Mrs Perry when she tells the two of them that they're not allowed to leave class no matter what, even when Victoire's eyeliner is streaking down her cheeks with tears and harsh, uneven breaths. Teddy hates Mrs Perry even more now.
They spend so much together that even though they've known each other for a month, it feels like they've known each other their whole lives.
"So you've not told her yet?" Harry states as he tosses his miniature football in the air before catching it flawlessly. It sounds like a question, but Teddy knows that it's not.
Teddy sits on floor in front of Harry's bed, while Harry hangs upside down off the side of his bed, half of his body sprawled across the aggressively red bedding, half hanging out, somehow managing to toss and catch that small football in his hand. The walls in his room are a soft yellow now, almost white, instead of those aggressively yellow walls with the red feature wall. It's supposed to calm his anxiety, Lily had said, with paint on her cheek and streaking through her hair, smiling as she handed Harry his meds with an unsurprisingly paint stained hand. Teddy still doesn't know where she got this information from, or if she's even correct, but they didn't question her then, and won't question her now.
“No,” Teddy says. “No, I haven’t told her.”
Now that’s the question, isn’t it? Victoire told them about her anxiety, and also told them about her weird addiction to mini-marshmallows (but not normal sized ones; she can’t stand those) and Teddy has told her how addicting it is to dye their hair and how they, some days, feel so shitty that they don’t leave their bed, but they haven’t manage to say those two words: I’m genderfluid.
Teddy shrugs. “I don’t know. It’s… scary. I don't want her to, like, hate me, because of who I am."
"Why in the actual fuck would she hate you? What is there to hate?"
"Teddy, shut your mouth."
"Look," Teddy says through a sigh. "I just don't know how to explain this weird… lazy river that is my gender, and I really am scared that I'll lose her if I try. It might be irrational but, like, our friendship means a lot to me."
Harry sits—or lays—quiet for a while, tossing that goddamn ball up in the air before catching it. And then he says, "Are you in love with her?"
Teddy chokes on their breath.
"What? No? What— why— what? Where did you get that from?"
"Just the way you sound when you talk about her."
"I value her as a friend , I would very much like her to stay friends with me, I'm not… I'm not in love. "
"Okay, kid." Harry sounds as though he doesn't believe them, and Teddy thinks that's reasonable. They don't really believe themself.
"Don't call me kid. You're barely a year older than me."
"No can do, kiddo."
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Teddy glares at their phone, then throws it down onto their bed with a groan. For fuck's sake .
"I can't go to school today," Teddy says the next morning over breakfast.
Paddy is scraping his hair into a bun, bending over the crossword in front of Dad with a piece of toast in his mouth, and when Teddy speaks he only manages a very muffled, "What?" in response.
"I can't go to school today," they repeat. Dad frowns and looks up, clearly concerned.
"Why? Are you sick?"
"No. I just had a very super horrible realisation last night and now I can't face the horrors that is sixth form and English with Mrs. Fuckhead."
Neither Paddy nor Dad bother with their usual chorus of Language; they're both too busy giving Teddy their most unimpressive glares they can muster. Teddy tires to hide a wince.
"Go brush your teeth," Paddy says, still thoroughly unimpressed with Teddy's excuse. "We're leaving in fifteen."
"No, really!" Teddy protests. "It's super very really absolutely horrible and I really, really can't face—" they cut themself off when they almost say Vic , and clear their throat. "—can't face the absolute horrors awaiting me."
"You're rambling," Dad says. "And you're being dramatic. Teeth. Brushed. Go. "
So, Teddy does go to school—or at least outside the door—, very pointedly ignoring both their parents when Dad says goodbye by the front door and them and Paddy makes their way to the car. They also, only to prove that they are very cross with the thought of going to school, slam the car door shut with an impeccable force, which earns them a glare from Paddy.
"Will you tell me what's wrong, or are you just going to be cross with me and Dad all day?" Paddy asks when he pulls out of the car park.
"No," is the only answer Teddy gives him, pulling at their hoodie strings.
" Ted. "
Teddy shakes their head and pulls out their phone from their pocket, then opens up their text conversation with Harry.
Teddy: your godfather is an arsehole kindly take him back to the pound where he was found
martha dumptruck (harry): wat
Teddy: jfc padddy is being a Grade A Dick
martha dumptruck (harry): lol why
Teddy: because i started with the Grade A Dicking
martha dumptruck (harry): then why are u mad
martha dumptruck (harry): ron nd i are behind school btw meet us thre xx
martha dumptruck (harry): u kno it babes
"Teddy," Paddy says again, slower this time, without the clipped, aristocratic lilt.
" What? " Teddy snaps back, and notes with some twisted, sick satisfaction, that Paddy actually flinches. And then they realise just how dramatic they are actually being. They only realised that they're actually crushing on Victoire; that the feeling of jealousy is, indeed, want, and while they really, really aren't ready to look at her, or talk to her, in case they accidentally start rambling about something, and in turn letting it slip that hi, we've been friends for about a month but I think that I'm a little in love with you, it isn't worth being this angry about. But then again, they've already dug themself in this far, with slamming doors and snapping back with unjustified venom, that they can't just suddenly change their way of handling this now.
"Dad and I just want to help," says Paddy, as if he didn't just flinch, as if Teddy isn't being an arse for no reason. "But if you want to be angry, go ahead."
Teddy suddenly feels more angry now, when Paddy doesn't fight back. Teddy has seen him hurl mugs at the wall before, bang his fists on the counter and yell when Dad tried to get a bit too close; they've seen him curse and yell at nothing in particular when he's stubbed his toe or stepped on Teddy's LEGO pieces. Teddy has seen him angry, and now they want him to be angry back; they want to yell and get out all frustration and confusion on Paddy instead and have him fight back, and they don't even know why.
Teddy tugs at their hair and squeeze their eyes shut, then covers their face with their hands and says, "Jesus fuck! " muffled through their palms.
"I don't fucking know! Everything is just—" they gesture wildly with their hands, trying to find another word that's not shitfuck —"Too fucking much!"
"Everything!" Teddy yells this time. They bang their fists against the glove compartment, and it stings and aches but everything really is too much so suddenly and they hate it. They hate that they're in love and they hate that they haven't had the guts to come out to Victoire and they hate that they're angry at nothing, but it feels so intense that they think they might explode.
Paddy sighs, and Teddy still wants him to be angry back, but he's not. Instead he pulls up by the sidewalk, then turns in his seat to look at Teddy, but they refuse to look back.
"Do you want to go home?" Paddy asks, slowly and carefully.
"You'll be alone, though. Dad will have left when I drop you off."
"I don't care," Teddy mutters, staring out the window as Paddy starts up the car again and turns around to drive back home.
"You sure? I could ask—"
"I don't care! Alright? I don't fucking care!"
"Okay, okay," Paddy says, and as a bit of an afterthought, Teddy can hear him mumble a very, very hushed jesus fuck.
That's understandable, Teddy thinks absentmindedly over the anger swirling in their head. They're a sweet kid, as people so often tell them. They rarely lose their temper and yell like that, rarely punch things and snap. Though sometimes, Teddy thinks, they should be allowed to be angry—a stereotypical teenager with raging hormones and unjustified anger, even though it doesn't make any sense to them, or to Paddy.
When they get home, Teddy makes a beeline for their bedroom, where they drop their bag and changes from the jeans and flannel shirt they were wearing to a pair of gym shorts—that have never actually seen the inside of a gym—and a hoodie, then curl up in bed. They blindly reach for they phone, turn on their favourite playlist with T. Rex, Queen and Bowie, then they close their eyes and imagines that if they keep their eyes closed long enough, the blankets around them will swallow them whole.
Teddy wakes up some time later by a buzzing next to their ear. They groan and swat their ear, trying to flick away the buzzing until they realise it's their phone. They groan again, then turns around to grab their phone. Teddy expects to see dad or paddy lighting up their screen, or even martha dumptruck (harry), calling them to tell them that they should've gone to school or… something. But no. The name that lights up Teddy's screen is victoire.
Teddy's heart leaps to their throat, and stays there, even when they try to breathe and swallow it down. " Shit. Fucking… Fucking cock shit," is what comes out of their mouth before they swipe to answer the call with a trembling hand, then brings their phone to their ear. "Hello?"
"Teddy! Hi," Victoire says, sounding almost uncharacteristically cheery. "Where are you? It's almost lunch and I haven't seen you yet."
"Are you sick?"
"No," says Teddy, rubbing their free hand over their face. "Just… Just a shit day, I guess."
"Oh. I'll come over, then. Do you need something?"
Teddy's heart is still stuck in their throat, beating wildly for so many reasons, and they hate it, they hate it. "What?! No! No. Don't do that," they say, hastily. "You have school, and— and algebra. My dad…"
"Okay, I'm sorry, but your dad will survive without me gracing him with my presence for one day. I'm coming and you will literally have to kill me to stop me. I'll swing by the shops, too, so, again: do you need something?"
"No, Vic, I," says Teddy, swallowing hard to force down their heart back to their ribcage. "I need you to stay in school."
"Wrong answer. I'll buy a chocolate bar—are you okay with a Mars bar?—and, er, a fizzy drink of some sort."
Teddy stares blankly at the wall in front of them, then says, "A Mars bar is fine," very weakly.
"Brilliant," says Victoire. "I'll be over in, like, twenty."
"Are you possessed? Or high?" asks Teddy before she hangs up on them.
"No, no." Victoire laughs. "Mrs Perry spilled coffee all down her front this morning, and it's put me in a great mood."
There's a knock on the door some time later, and Teddy rolls out of bed with much difficulty, then shuffles over to the door with dark circles underneath their eyes, wearing nothing but a dirty, light blue hoodie that seems to clash with their green hair, even though it's not supposed to, and their gym shorts. There's probably a stubble on their chin, too, which Teddy definitely needs to shave off before they start panicking about it, but right now they really can't be arsed.
The door isn't locked, they notice as they pull it open, and thinks that they definitely should've locked that after they'd stormed in earlier.
"Hi," they say to Victoire, who stands there looking amazing, as always (some part in Teddy's brain says a snack and they outwardly cringe at that). "Welcome into the shithole."
"Why, don't you look dashing today?" says Victoire, a smile on her glossy lips, as she steps inside the mess that is the Lupin-Black's flat. It's strange, because both Dad and Paddy want the flat to be organised and tidy, lest they won't find shit when they go looking for it, and yet, it looks like chaos at least sixty percent of the time. Teddy's room is undeniably the worst; with clothes strewn across the floor and empty tea mugs standing on every free surface and both their ukulele and guitar laying on top the pile of clothes instead of hanging on their hooks on the wall. But then again, they really can't be arsed with fixing it.
"Fuck off, I look like a sewer rat."
"A very handsome sewer rat," Victoire argues. She throws her bag on the floor and sheds her jacket, then toes off her boots and says, "Does the handsome sewer rat need a hug?"
"I— Yeah, yes, please."
Teddy wonders if it's possible to die from hugging when Victoire's arms wrap around them, and just stands there with their heart in their throat for a good five seconds before they remember that hugs tend to involve two pairs of arms. It's quite awkward, too; the way Teddy hugs her as if human contact is a foreign concept.
"Were you napping earlier?" asks Victoire into their chest.
"Fabulous. Do you want to take a nap with me?"
Teddy chokes on their saliva. Or on their breath. They can't quite tell. "Jesus fucking Christ," they mumble.
"What was that?" Victoire lets go of Teddy and takes a step back, a frown on her face. Teddy really thinks they're going to die.
"I— Fuck. Fucking fuck, I can't do this. Shit, fuck." Teddy tugs at their hair, scrubs their hands over their face and feels the stubble there and almost gags. I need to tell her, I need to tell her. They don't even know what, exactly, they should say first, or how to say it, or if they should even talk at all at this point.
"What?" snaps Victoire, sounding much more like her usual, fierce self. The joy of Mrs. Perry spilling coffee all over herself must've worn off.
"I—." Teddy swallows hard, clenches their eyes shut so hard that they can see colourful blobs and wished that they could sink through the ground, dissolve in a pool of lava near the earth's core and never have to speak again. "I'm genderfluid," they say, then take a deep breath. "I'm genderfluid and I use they and them pronouns and my dads know and the teachers at school know but they're all transphobic fucks and ignore it and Mrs. Perry is the worst and that's why I hate her so much, and I didn't want to tell you because I was scared that you'd suddenly hate me and I don't think I could deal with you hating me because I think I kind of love you even though we've only known each other for a month but you're just so beautiful and great and awesome and—" it all tumbles out in one long breath, their heart is racing so fast in their chest and they don't know if they're making any sense whatsoever, but part of them doesn't even care. —"and, like, I don't know if you see genderfluid as something cringy and I don't want you walking around, thinking that I'm cringy when I kinda love—"
"Teddy," Victoire says quietly, taking a step forward. She rises to her tiptoes, nudges her nose against theirs and says, "Shut up, love," then carefully presses her lips against Teddy's. It's a quick peck; Teddy barely has time to realise that it's happening, but they do and their heart is trying to beat out of their fucking body still, barely breathing. Well, that went a whole lot better than expected.
"Shit," is what Teddy manages to say when Victoire sinks down to stand flat on her feet again. "Holy shit."
Victoire laughs. "They and them pronouns, and we're both kind of in love with each other. Anything else you want me to know?"
Teddy just stares at her, eyes wide, and tries to process the and we're both kind of in love with each other . They slowly shake their head. "No… No, I don't think so."
"Shall we nap, then?"
"Yeah… Yeah, yes. Let's go."
Victoire smiles again, and holds out her hand for Teddy to take. They take a deep breath, smiles hesitantly and grabs her hand, intertwines their fingers, and leads her to the bedroom. Their mind goes to very different places, and they immediately shakes those thoughts out of their head with a sudden, fierce blush staining their neck. Victoire seems blissfully unaware of what Teddy might be thinking, which is good. Very good. At least they know for sure not that they're not jealous.
"Please don't look around. My sewer rattiness manifests itself in my environment as well," says Teddy, dragging Victoire to the bed.
"I can see that."
"I said not to look!"
"It's quite difficult to not look, Teddy. Your room isn't that big, there's not much else to look at."
"Close your eyes then, that's— that's what you do when you nap."
"Lay down then; I'll big spoon you." Victoire nods toward Teddy's bed, and they can't really argue. They lay down on their back first, and looks up at Victoire with a small smile on their lips.
"You're shorter than me. You'll be jet-packing."
"Fuck you, I'm big spooning you," Victoire says, laying down next to them, but ending up almost halfway off the bed. "Scoot," she says, and Teddy does.
"Can't I… Can't I lay, like, with my head on your chest instead?" asks Teddy, and the face Victoire makes at the suggestion Teddy can't describe as anything else but Windows blue screen. She then shakes her head, then nods, and opens her arms to let Teddy make themself comfortable on her chest. Teddy feels fucking giddy. They're smiling and blushing, one arm wrapped around Victoire's middle with their head on her chest, very blissfully not thinking for the first time since last night.
Teddy wakes with their head still on Victoire's chest, arms still wrapped around her. One of her arms is wrapped around them, while the other hand sits in their hair, slowly combing through that fluffy mess that looks remarkably like Dad's, even though they don't share the same DNA. Teddy immediately decides to not open their eyes, and feign sleep so they don't have to get up from this.
It works for five minutes, and then Teddy's stomach gives a loud rumble, startling both them and Victoire.
Victoire laughs, and Teddy chuckles weakly before they say, "Shit."
"Hungry, are you?"
"A lil', I suppose," Teddy says. "I'm very comfortable, though."
"Hmm… Did you know that you snore?" Teddy looks up at Victoire, fake scandalised look on their face.
"I do not. "
"Oh yes," Victoire laughs, eyes crinkling. "Like a little kitten."
"Fuck off," Teddy says, hauling themself up to a sitting position. "Do you want to join me on the thrilling quest of going out to the kitchen to get something to eat?"
"'Course," Victoire says with a smile. She sits, and grabs Teddy by the strings of their hoodie, and pulls them close, then kisses them. Again.
Teddy feels their heart speed up again, and a flush stains the back of their neck. They sit rigid for a few moments, then grabs Victoire's arm just to hold on , and kisses her back.
"Do you like super noodles?" Teddy murmurs breathlessly against Victoire's lips. She pulls away with a laugh, nodding.
The mugs and plates from breakfast are still on the kitchen counter, and Teddy reckons that they should put them in the dishwasher as they flick on the kettle and set down two super noodle cups on the table, but decides to do it later. Right now their heart is permanently stuck in their throat, and they feel high on the thought of Victoire kissing them.
As the kettle boils, Teddy and Victoire awkwardly look at each other, sharing embarrassed smiles until Teddy decides that this shouldn't be awkward or embarrassing; they've been friends for a bit over a month, and it hasn't been awkward before, so why should it be now? Teddy might love her a bit more than friends should, but it's okay because Victoire loves them back.
It's Teddy's turn to kiss her. And this time it's not the awkward peck of lips where Teddy doesn't know what the fuck to do of themself, but a real, proper kiss, with Teddy's hands on Victoire's hips that feels so unreal that Teddy wouldn't be able to open their eyes even if the kitchen was on fire. Victoire parts her lips, carefully runs her tongue over Teddy's bottom lip, and they let out an embarrassing, breathless noise that Victoire smiles at. They feel it against their lips as they pull Victoire closer, not caring about the click of the kettle that tells them that maybe they should pull away so they can eat, because they're fucking making out with Victoire in the kitchen and things are moving so fast, not making any sense, yet to Teddy it all fits together.
Teddy can't tell if a minute or an hour passes before they and Victoire pull apart, breathless and blushing with swollen and red lips.
Teddy's stomach grumbles again. What a fucking way to ruin the mood.
They eat on Teddy's bed, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine playing on Victoire's school laptop. Victoire tells them that she'd let Rosa snap her in half at least twice, and Teddy laughs around mouthfuls of noodles, shamelessly thinking the exact same thing. The empty noodle cups end up on Teddy's bedside table, stacked on top of books and nestled between tea mugs. Teddy should really tidy their room.
Two more episodes in, and Victoire has her head on Teddy's shoulder, their hands entwined and resting on Teddy's thigh and it all feels so natural.
"Do you know that I realised last night that I am in love with you? Like I think I knew, distantly, that I was… crushing on you since day one cause you— you're just so fucking beautiful, but I didn't fully realise until Harry pointed it out to me, and now we've kissed four times and we're watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine in my bed like it's the most natural thing in the world, and it feels like it's going too fast at the same time as I don't want it to slow down, like, ever," Teddy says suddenly, not even trying to stop their word-vomiting today. "And I don't know how things should go, and maybe going too fast is just in my blood. Like my dads adopted me at twenty-two and got married as soon as it was legalised and they're still… going— going strong, you know? I don't mind going fast if you don't."
"Do you, perhaps, want to go out on a real date this weekend, then?" Victoire asks. "Make things a bit more official, a bit slower."
"Yeah." Teddy grins. "I'd love that."
And they kiss again. Moving too fast, so fast, and Teddy doesn't care. They only care about Victoire with her freckles and strawberry blonde hair and the way she's hilariously blunt and human and doesn't care about what anyone else says. They only care about her lips against theirs and her small huffs of laughter at the TV show playing on her laptop.
Suddenly, Teddy hears the front door close. They didn't hear it open, but they can most definitely hear the tell-tale sound of Dad slamming the door. Victoire and Teddy jump apart, wide eyed with kiss-swollen lips and tousled hair.
Dad's footsteps are muffled against the carpeted floors, but Teddy still hears that it's him. "Teddy? Whose rucksack and shoes are at the front door?"
"Shit," Teddy hisses. Victoire swipes some hair from her face and adjusts her jumper.
"Should I hide?" she hisses. Teddy frowns.
"Why in the fuck would you hide? He's already seen your shoes, fuckhead!"
"Don't fuckhead me, I'm fucking panicking!"
"So am I! You're skipping school to hang out with me!" Teddy tugs at their hair. "Shit, fuck, shit. Why did you skip?"
"Because I was worried about you—"
A knock. Dad fucking knocks on Teddy's door. "Ted?"
" Shit, shit, shit, " Teddy hisses again, slamming the laptop shut and moving the cups of super noodles from the bed to the very overcrowded bedside table. "Yes?"
"Can I come in?" Dad asks. Teddy looks at Victoire, who shakes her head furiously with wide eyes. No, she mouths.
"Er… Yes?" Teddy says. Victoire slaps their arm. "Ow, shit, fuck you."
"Fuck you too," Victoire whispers. "What if he, like, murders me—"
The door knob twists, and Dad cracks the door open. "Whose shoes are— Oh. Hi."
"Hi, Mr. Lupin-Black," Victoire says with a smile. Teddy smiles too, still very, very aware that their lips are kiss swollen, and that they didn't adjust their hair in their panic. Shit.
"Hi, Dad. Hi. Welcome home," Teddy says. Dad just frowns, looking from Victoire to Teddy, then back to Victoire, then back to Teddy, as if they were in some stupid, staged sit-com. Teddy smiles what they hope is an innocent, convincing smile that says, don't fucking kill me, please.
"Teddy," Dad says slowly. "A word, please?"
"Go ahead," Teddy says, gesturing vaguely for Dad to speak. Dad raises an eyebrow.
"Alone," he says pointedly.
"Right," Teddy murmurs, and stands. They shoot an apologetic look at Victoire, then leaves their room with Dad tailing after them.
Dad sits on the sofa and groans. Teddy can't tell if it's a good groan or an annoyed groan, but they remain standing where they are nonetheless, lip caught between their teeth. Dad straightens, and looks at Teddy with narrowed eyes.
"Are you skipping school to hang out with…"
"Victoire," Teddy supplies, then shake their head. "No."
Dad raises an eyebrow. "Then why is she here an hour before school ends?"
Teddy fights the urge to roll their eyes, and says, "She was worried about me because I never came to school, so she came over to check on me. We're not skipping together, we're in the same class for fuck's sake."
"Language," Dad says. Teddy does roll their eyes this time.
"Hypocrite," Teddy retorts, and there's the faintest tug of a smile on Dad's face when they say that. "I've had a shit day, alright? I basically slept all day to avoid, like, wrecking my whole room. Victoire was worried, so she came over with some snacks and held me company—" Dad raises an eyebrow at that, Teddy flushes— "Not like that! Jesus. We ate noodles and now we're just… hanging out. As friends do."
"If Paddy gets angry, it's on you," Dad says simply. Teddy shrugs.
"It's on him of he gets angry, innit? And I bet Uncle James and Paddy did the same for each other when they were sixteen and— and angsty."
Dad snorts. "Most likely, yeah." He reclines back in the sofa and closes his eyes. "I'll start working on dinner in, like, an hour. Ask Victoire if she wants to stay and eat."
"Oh," says Teddy. That went much easier than expected—no cursing or threats of murder, no nothing, really. Good. Very good. Teddy nods slowly, and retreats back into their room.
Victoire sits on the bed, still, biting her nails with an unfocused look on her face. Teddy frowns. "You okay?"
Victoire looks up quickly, as though she's been caught doing something she shouldn't do, and exhales shakily. "Can I smoke? Not here, but like, go outside, or something."
"We've a balcony," Teddy says. "I can ask if you can smoke there. Do you need anything? Water, or—"
"A hug?" Victoire asks.
Teddy is on the bed next to her before they can register it themself. They wrap their arms around Victoire, pulls her close and just holds. They hear how Victoire sucks in deep breaths, feels how she grips their hoodie and presses her face against the crook of Teddy's neck.
"I got so paranoid that he was gonna throw me out or yell at you, or me, or both, and I just—"
"He asked if you wanted to stay for dinner," Teddy says. "It's okay."
Victoire nods. "I can stay for dinner, yeah."
"Cool. Should I ask him about the balcony now?"
Victoire laughs against Teddy's neck. "Yeah."
Teddy nods, inhales deeply and yells, "Oi! Father figure!"
"What?!" is the reply that comes. Victoire doesn't bother with stifling her snort of laughter.
"Can you come in here?"
There's a heavy sigh, and then the shuffling off feet before Dad pushes the door open and pokes his head in. Victoire is still clinging to Teddy, and they smile innocently at their dad.
"What?" he asks.
"Can Vic smoke on the balcony? I promise I won't. It tastes disgusting."
"I— You've tried smoking?"
"Yes, it was vile, I won't do it again. Hacked up a lung, not a good time."
"I can attest," Victoire murmurs. She looks up at Dad, though her fingers are still clenched around Teddy's hoodie. "It's okay if you don't want me to, I understand that it's… not great to have a sixteen year old smoking on your balcony."
"Do your parents know that you smoke? And are they okay with it?" Dad asks. Victoire nods. "Alright. There's an ashtray out there that Pad— Sirius uses every once in a while. If I find out that your parents aren't okay with it, then I wasn't here. I was… napping, unaware of the illegalities taking place in my home."
Teddy snorts. "Hypocrite."
"Shut up," Dad says, though he's smiling. "What do you want for dinner?"
"Er… Mac and cheese?"
"Christ, child, you are unhealthy," Dad says with a sigh.
"Chuck some veg in there, then. Carrots, broccoli, whatever the fuck."
"I don't like carrots," Victoire mumbles.
"Just broccoli, then," Teddy says.
Dad nods. "It's quick, I suppose. We've those veggie steaks in the freezer that Lily threw at us, you okay with eating those with?"
Teddy nods, and they think Victoire does too.
"Right-o!" Dad says. "I'm off to napping, you youngins can… do whatever it is that you kids do. Holler if you need me." And with that, he stalks off.
Teddy and Victoire sit in silence for a few beats, then Victoire says, "Your dad seems nice," in the most stilted, awkward voice Teddy's ever heard her speak with. Teddy sits silent for a few more beats, trying to contain the bubble of laughter that builds in their chest. It works for approximately five seconds before it spills out; like a loud cackle, and soon Victoire joins in. It's almost unbelievable how much Teddy needed… today, to happen.
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