|Beth H (bethbethbeth) wrote in hp_beholder,|
@ 2010-05-15 12:14:00
|Entry tags:||beholder_2010, dudley dursley, fic, het, millicent bulstrode, millicent/dudley, rating:pg|
FIC: "When You Least Expect It" for leni_jess
Title: When You Least Expect It
Word Count: 5,580
Summary: Dudley meets someone unexpected at Harry's wedding.
Author's/Artist's Notes: Many thanks to regan_v and leela_cat for betaing.
Dudley took a sip of his beer. If nothing else, his cousin Harry sure knew how to throw a party. Wedding. Even if he did respect Severus Snape, Dudley couldn't quite wrap his mind around Harry marrying the man. Especially after he'd been married to a woman who looked like Ginny Weasley did.
Not that it was his place to judge. And given everything, it didn't matter that much. He was glad he'd remained in touch with Harry over the years. He'd have been in a world of trouble if he hadn't.
"Are you having a good time?" Harry asked, sitting down next to him. "I'm glad you decided to wear the dress robes."
Dudley moved his shoulders. They were a bit tight. "Thanks. Good idea, that."
"I thought you'd rather blend in than stand out."
He was right. Although even with the robes, Dudley hadn't quite blended in with Harry's crowd. "Sarah wouldn't have appreciated her father standing out as the only Muggle at your wedding."
"Kids. They keep you on your toes. I see that you did get her the new robes she wanted."
As if there was ever any question about that. "Of course I did. We trudged through half the stores in Diagon Alley." He sighed dramatically. "I love her, I do, but shopping with her or anyone really, well, it's just awful."
Harry laughed. "I know. I don't understand why they want try on every article of clothing in a store or several stores to find just the right one."
"And in the perfect shade of the perfect color."
"Exactly." Harry laughed again. "Have you talked to anyone here? I mean about consulting. There are a couple of people here who could use some of your business expertise."
Dudley shook his head. It wasn't as easy as that. Not with wizards, anyway. "I don't know your friends."
"You've met some of them. And with you thinking about starting to work in the Magical world, you should get to know them." Harry said it as if Dudley would be accepted just on Harry's say so.
He wasn't going to mention that he was not inclined to be a hanger-on. "I've found that many of you wizards don't trust us Muggles," Dudley said. It didn't particularly bother him. He still had friends in the real world. But he spent more and more of his time here.
"Some of us do. I do."
"And I appreciate it. I don't know what Sarah and I would have done if you hadn't been there to help us."
"I've told you before, you're part of my family," Harry said. It was pretty clear that mattered a lot to him. "Even if she hadn't turned out to be a witch, I still would have wanted your daughter to know my kids."
"How are they taking..." Dudley made a gesture towards Harry's new husband.
Harry tilted his head. "How do you mean? They like Severus well enough."
"I know you said it's common place --"
Understanding lit Harry's eyes. "Men marry all the time. But you know, that it's legal in Muggle England, too."
"I know. It's just...I didn't expect to know anyone who did it." Dudley shrugged, feeling like he'd stepped in it somehow.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "I hope it doesn't bother you?"
"What you get up to in bed doesn't affect me at all."
"You're right about that. Speaking of... I should get back to Severus. Have something to eat. The food's great," Harry said.
With that, Harry wondered back to his...husband. Dudley stood. He spotted his daughter playing and dancing with her cousins and their cousins on the other side. She seemed safe enough with that scarily competent bushy haired person. Harry had introduced them a couple of times, but Dudley was very bad with names. Her husband had been Harry's partner in the wizard police before Harry had been promoted to head of it.
After piling a plate high with a bit of everything from the buffet, he checked on Sarah again. She was still playing and having a good time. He settled at one of the back tables in the hall to watch. His parents might still think that Harry and other wizards were freaks, but to him, they seemed to be just like other people he'd met. Well, almost.
A flash of black hair, and a white chef's hat caught his eyes. And held it. She was a strong looking woman. Tall and not ridiculously thin the way most women of his acquaintance were these days. Dudley sat up to watch her.
She hefted one of the almost empty food trays and carried it off, returning a moment later with a full one. There was something about a strong woman that set his blood to simmer. And with that dark hair and creamy white skin, she was a sight to see.
She came back again with two of the serving staff, and pointed to several of the other trays of food. "I shouldn't have to tell you to do this," she said sternly. "You need to be watching."
"Yes, ma'am," one of the servers said. "I'll keep an eye out."
"See that you do." She turned and saw him watching. "Is there something you need, sir?"
Dudley shook his head. "No. Thanks. The food is very good."
She smiled. And wow, did that light up her face. "Thanks. I'm the caterer."
"I guessed that." She turned to go, and he found that he didn't want her to leave just yet. "Um...."
"Daddy," Sarah said, coming towards him and dragging one of the many red-headed girls with her. "You remember Rose? She's Albus, and James, and Lily's cousin. Her mum said I could stay over tonight. If you said it was okay. Can I?"
"Are you sure that it's okay?" The little girl nodded. She looked like a miniature of the bushy haired woman. "Why don't you have your mum come talk to me?" Dudley was glad that Sarah was making friends. These were the people she would spend her time with when she started the same school that Harry had gone to.
"My mum will say it's okay," Rose assured him as the girls bounded off.
Dudley looked up, and the woman was gone. Damn. She'd been the first interesting person he'd seen here. Not that he was looking at this point. Or at all. Still, he'd have liked to get her name.
Dudley gave it a few minutes before he went back to the buffet for another sampling of the food. As he was preparing to dig in, that bushy haired friend of Harry's came over.
She sat down without asking. "I'm Hermione Weasley. We've met a couple of times."
"I remember," Dudley lied, putting his fork down. "You work in the Ministry. You were the one who got us permission to get Sarah her wand early."
"It's rare that magic manifests so early. And even more rare that someone so young needs to be taught to control it." But she was smiling, like it was a good thing, rather than a bad one.
"Her magic started to get out of control when she was nine or so. When she made all the windows in the house disappear, we knew we had to do something. Thank God, Harry had known what to do."
Hermione nodded, her expression sympathetic. "I’m sorry things didn't work out with your wife."
Dudley shrugged. "I should have realized how much like my mother Michelle was when I married her. Sarah comes first with me. She has to."
"I understand that," Hermione said. "The girls all want to spend the night together at my house. I hope that Sarah can come as well."
Having his daughter fit in with these people was important. And from what he'd gleaned from Harry, Hermione's family was important in the wizarding world. "I'm sure she'd love that."
"Very good. I'll bring her back to you tomorrow. Are you still staying at Grimmauld Place?"
After he'd been at Harry's for a few weeks, he'd wanted to find a flat for himself and Sarah, but Harry wouldn't hear of it. "Harry is still insistent that we should live there. After two years, you'd think he'd be tired of us. But Sarah loves it there."
"It's changed a lot over the years."
Dudley had heard some of the stories about the place, but they didn't seem possible. "If you can pry her away from Lily and Rose, send her over to say good-bye."
"Right then. We'll be leaving as soon as they cut the cake."
As if on cue, a two-tier cake on a cart, without anyone carrying it or rolling it, came out of the kitchen and moved toward the front of the room. Over the last year or so, Dudley had gotten a bit more comfortable around magic, but something like this, still startled him.
Harry and his husband cut the cake and then fed it to each other. Then they kissed for a while, smearing cake over each other's mouths. Dudley watched and applauded with everyone else.
Someone served him a piece of cake at the back table, but before he could eat it, Sarah came running up to him.
"Daddy," she said breathlessly. "I'm going over to Rose's right now."
"Give us a kiss good-bye."
"I love you, Daddy!" And she was gone.
Dudley let out a long sigh. He'd need to get used to be without her very soon. And the thought didn't please him. But once she went to that school, she'd be gone nine months out of the year.
"They grow up fast, don't they?" the woman from before said.
"Yeah. Way too fast. Do you have children?"
"Sadly, only nieces and a nephew."
Dudley wasn't sure what to say about that, so he nodded and held out his hand. "I'm Dudley Dursley."
"Millie Bulstrode," she said taking his hand.
He approved that her hands weren't soft or smooth. "You a friend of Harry's?"
"One of Severus' students. I doubt Potter would have hired me otherwise."
"Right. I had heard he was headmaster of that school..."
"I didn't think you went to Hogwarts. Which school did you go to?"
"Smeltings." He smiled at her nonplussed look. "It's not a magic school."
"How do you know..." She waved her finger around.
"I'm Harry's cousin."
"The one whose parents abus --" She stopped short, her cheeks coloring quite becomingly.
"Yeah. Pretty much. They were less than thrilled to have a granddaughter who turned out to be magical. Very powerful." Dudley had heard that mattered, though he could not quite get how.
Millie tilted her head. "How powerful?"
"Harry got her a wand when she was nine, and arranged with someone to teach her to use it."
"Seriously? I've only heard of that happening once or twice." She smiled. "And never with a Muggleborn."
"The magic thing seems to run in the family."
"Right. Your aunt was Potter's mother. And neither you nor your parents have magic?"
What his parents would have done if he'd had magic like Harry didn't bear thinking about. Dudley shook his head.
"Your wife's family?"
"Given her reaction, I doubt it."
"She has a problem with it?"
"She wanted to abandon my daughter."
Millie gasped. "You're joking."
Dudley's estimation of her went up. "Said it was her or Sarah. What's worse was my parents backed her up."
That made Millie smile. She sat down at the table across from him. "So, you're staying with Potter and Severus?"
"Sarah and I are living at Grimmauld Place. It's very nice."
"Now that they've cleaned it up. I'd heard it was just awful."
"I wouldn't have guessed. It's very bright and sunny. Sarah loves it."
"Potter and his wife, ex-wife used to live there and I heard that she redid the place completely. I heard that Potter moved out sometime last year, and now he and Severus are living out at Godric's Hollow."
Dudley nodded. "So, you know Severus?"
"As I said, he was my teacher."
"Not recently." She had to be about the same age as him. Maybe a couple of years younger, but he wouldn't bet on it.
"No. Merlin, it's been more than twenty years, but once he's your head of house and teacher, he always is." She looked at him. "He takes care of his own."
"I did get that impression." Snape wasn't ever rude to him, but when he'd first come around to Harry's house, Snape had taken him aside and had a chat. Dudley had to respect him for his protection of his cousin.
"He had a talk with you about Potter?" Millie chuckled knowingly.
Dudley nodded. "Snape's not a man I'd want to cross."
"It's nothing personal. He doesn’t like it when someone could potentially hurt one of the people he cares about."
"I'm still a little surprised by the whole thing." He nodded his head towards the front of the room.
"Yeah, we were too."
"We? Are there more of you?"
She nodded, pushing the hair that had escaped her clips away from her face. "Slytherins, especially those of us who actually had Severus as a teacher."
Dudley wanted to run his hand through the messy hair, just to see if it was as soft as it looked. "I see. I thought he was still headmaster at the school."
"He was for years. But he trained up his replacement and retired."
"Seems kind of young to be retired." Dudley had heard that wizards lived much longer than regular folks. Snape didn't look that old. As a matter of fact, he only looked a few years older than Harry.
"Not from work, just from being headmaster."
"Right. I think Harry mentioned something about a shop?"
"Severus opened an apothecary last year --"
A crash from the kitchen startled both of them.
She jumped to her feet. "Bloody Hell. I'll need to go check on the crew. We'll be done here in a couple of hours." She took a breath. "Do you want to have a drink with me after?"
"Yes. Absolutely." Dudley couldn't believe his luck. He'd been planning to speak to Harry about her before he left. "The only pub I know is a bit down the block. A schoolmate of Harry's owns it."
"Seamus' pub. Good choice. I'll meet you there in about two hours."
Millie surveyed the kitchen. Nothing else needed to be done. She vanished the last of the equipment back to her store. "Good job, everyone. I'll see you all on Monday for the Brubaker brunch."
The loo mirror said her hair was a total mess and falling down. She took a brush to it rather than putting it back up. Not too bad, she thought when she was done. It was probably her best feature.
Her clothes were old and comfortable. But she wasn't putting her chef's uniform back on, and she was too tired to Apparate to her flat to change. Besides, it was nearly time to meet Dudley.
Dudley Dursley. A big man, with big hands, and nice blue eyes. Who also seemed to appreciate her less than small body. It also didn't hurt that he was favorably connected to Harry Potter.
Even the Muggle part was less of a problem than it might have been years ago. She'd never had any problems with them, even when she was young. Neither had her brother or his wife. Now that her parents were both gone, and there was no one left to care.
His daughter was a witch. A very powerful witch, at that. Still there was no telling if the magic would breed true. On the other hand, Millie was a witch, too, so it seemed like it might.
But she was getting ahead of herself. First she needed to convince Dudley that he wanted her. Which given his response so far, might not be that hard.
She Apparated to Seamus' pub. He might have been a Gryffindor in school, but he had one of the best pubs in Diagon Alley. Not that it was anywhere near as good now that she wasn't cooking for him, but he still served a decent meal and a generous pint.
"Millie," Seamus called as she came in. "How'd the wedding go?"
"You'd know if you'd been there," she called back. Potter and Seamus weren't as close as they'd been in school.
"No one to mind the pub," he said. "Besides, I'm not as forgiving of Snape as Potter is."
She'd noticed that Seamus wasn't forgiving of anyone, really. Typical Gryffindor. Always jumping to a conclusion and hanging onto it long after it was proven wrong. Millie wasn't going to fight with him, though. She just nodded. "Right."
That made Seamus smile. "What can I get you?"
"I'm meeting someone here." She looked around and spotted Dudley in back. He was still wearing his dress robes.
Seamus followed her eyes. "That's Harry's cousin, right?"
"I'm surprised you recognized him."
"Harry brought him in a while back. I remember faces. Hard to believe they're friends, though. He was pretty awful to Harry as a kid. Too forgiving, that's Harry." Seamus shook his head, clearly disgusted.
"As I understand it, it was his parents, not him. And it was a long time ago. Besides, he's got a daughter who's a witch."
Seamus nodded. "I heard. Like the most powerful witch in several generations. And Muggleborn."
Nothing she was going to say to that. She waved at Seamus and made her way back to the booth where Dudley was sitting.
He stood as she approached.
"Hi," Millie said. He was as solid looking as she'd remembered from the reception. Not that she thought he wouldn't be, but she didn't always trust her first impressions. Nice to see they were right for a change.
Mmmm. Those big hands would feel good on her skin.
She shook herself. What the bloody hell was she thinking?
He held out a chair for her. Merlin, she loved a man with good manners. "Thanks. I see you made it here all right."
"Wasn't hard. I've been here before. With Harry." He shrugged. His voice was low and soft.
She liked it when a big man was soft spoken. "Food's good."
"Not as good as yours is. Besides, I'm still stuffed from that buffet. But let me buy you dinner, all right?"
Millie nodded. And she really liked it when they wanted to buy her dinner without expecting to get into her clothes first. Not that she was opposed to that. But a little respect went a long way. "Thanks again. Tell me about yourself, Dudley."
"I'm a business consultant. Mostly, I spend my time in London. And I still have a lot of clients there. Harry's been trying to get me to expand into the Wizarding world."
"It's a good idea. At one time or another, most of us need some business advice, and there are damned few places to get it." One of the many failings of the Wizarding world. "Those who have money, keep it. But it's hard for those of us who want to make more than just a living to do it. We usually require some help."
"I'm doing pretty well, but I've been thinking about expanding, and those damned goblins don't think the business can stand it."
"Do you? You'd probably need to hire more help."
She nodded. "Yeah. I was thinking I'd do the cooking and get a manager to actually run the events."
Dudley nodded. "At least on the surface, that sounds reasonable."
"Try telling the goblins that," she snorted. "Since it's not a proven fact, they want more documentation than I can possibly get for them. I'd basically have to do the expansion to prove it would work."
"I might be able to help you with that."
She looked up at him. Merlin, he was smiling at her. And it had been a damned long time since anyone had smiled at her like that. "Send me an owl, and we can get together another time to talk business." She smiled at him. "We don't need to talk about that now. You were going to tell me about being a Muggle in our world."
"It's not as hard as I thought it would be. I want Sarah, my daughter, to be as well adjusted in this life as possible. And Harry, of course, has been a God-send."
Millie had always heard that Potter was big on family. "How old is your daughter?"
"She's eleven. She got her school letter this past spring and will start in the fall. She's younger than Lily by a few months. She and Lily will start together."
"That's good she'll have someone with her. I remember when I was a kid, several of my friends started before me. I was sure I'd never have any friends."
"She's thrilled to be going with Lily." Dudley sighed. "I'm going to miss her when she's gone for most of the year."
Millie nodded. "I'm sure it will be lonely for a while. But I think you'll find something to fill the time."
Dudley looked right at her and inclined his head. "Maybe. Right now, Sarah is attending the primary school."
"My nieces and nephew are still home schooled. Are there other Muggleborn children there?" She'd heard about the primary school that had been opened about ten years ago. It was rumored that Harry Potter had insisted they start to educate their students before eleven. Especially, the Muggleborn ones.
"Sarah said there are a few. Mostly it's wizard children. How would the Muggleborn parents even know to send their children to such a school?"
He had a point. Before she could say anything, Seamus brought a plate over for her. "Sure I can't get you anything, mate," Seamus said.
Dudley shook his head. "No thanks. I've spent the afternoon eating Millie's wonderful cooking."
Seamus nodded and headed back to the bar.
Millie tucked into her dinner. It was good to be off her feet and eating a decent meal she hadn't had to cook. "You've talked about your daughter and what you do for a living. But what do you do for fun?"
A half-smile touched his mouth. "Not much, really. I used to play football on an amateur league, but after I split with my ex, I don't really have time for it anymore."
"Do you know the Wizarding saying that all work and no play --"
"Makes Jack a dull boy?" Dudley laughed. "I thought that was one of ours."
Millie shook her head. "Many great Muggle sayings actually came from Wizards."
He just raised an eyebrow. "Okay. And no. I suspect I'm pretty dull. What about you? How did you end up a caterer?"
For a second, Millie stared at him. Obviously, he didn't know what it had been like after the war. Potter wasn't one to brag about his triumphs, so it was possible that he had no idea.
Should she tell him?
"You don't have to say," Dudley said after another moment of silence.
"It's a fair question. And really, I'm being over dramatic." She laughed. "Do you know about Voldemort?" Even after all these years, saying that name still felt wrong.
"Yes. We had to go into hiding. It was the first time I'd ever had to worry about anything other than who I was going to bully that day."
Oh, there was a story there. That was for sure. She raised an eyebrow. Better him to have him talk than her.
Dudley inclined his head with a smile that said he knew what she'd been thinking. "After you. If you want to say, that is."
"It was hard, after the war. I was a pureblood, but I'd sided with your cousin. When that idiot, Pansy Parkinson said she wanted to give up Potter to Voldemort, McGonagall threw all the Slytherins out of the school right before the final battle."
"Slytherins? Oh, right, your house?" Dudley's eyes narrowed. " Parkinson? I don't think I've heard of her."
"You wouldn't have. She and her family left England years ago. I heard she settled somewhere in South America or something. Good riddance. She gave all Slytherins a bad name." She shivered just thinking about her. Parkinson had been a pug-nosed snob. It had done Millie's heart good to see her brought low.
Dudley nodded, but it was clear he wasn't following completely.
"Anyway, some of the seventh years walked back from Hogsmeade to fight on Potter's side. Though not everyone believed us when we said so."
Dudley nodded for her to go on.
"After the war, Potter was all about peace and harmony, but a lot of people had died and some wizards wanted revenge. They claimed anyone who was a Slytherin was bad."
"That's not fair."
"Life isn't fair, I've found. Anyway, it was hard to find a job after school, even after I'd done well on my N.E.W.T.S. Do you know what those are?"
"Yeah, from what Harry has said, they're like A levels."
She had no idea what an A level was. "I'll take your word for it. So, while Potter tried to help people from my House out, I had to work at something. Seamus gave me a job in the kitchen, not cooking, cleaning. But one day the cook up and quit, so he let me give it a try. I'd been really good in potions. It made following a food recipe easy."
"Right. So, you liked it? Cooking, I mean?"
"More like I was good at it. Before that, I'd never cooked food. We had house elves." She looked at him, and he seemed to be tracking what she was saying. "So, after a while, I thought I'd move on and surprisingly, that bloody Gryffindor Seamus lent me a bit of cash to get started. Paid him back with interest a while back."
"So, you don't like cooking?"
"Got used to it, haven't I?" She didn't dislike it. "It pays very well, so there’s that. That and there aren't that many Wizarding caterers about. I get a lot of business. But as I said, I'd like to expand."
"And the bank Goblins won't lend you the money? Have you thought about going to private investors?"
"What? Wait. Do you mean like asking someone for the money? I had a hard enough time with Seamus, and he offered."
"I mean, asking a corporation. Or someone for a business loan. If you know some of the same people Harry knows, they seem to have some money to invest. What about Harry's friend Draco Malfoy? He's quite well off."
She'd never considered that. "How would I do that so it didn't sound like I was asking for a hand out?"
"You'd put together a business plan that says how you'd spend the money, and what their return on their investment would be. If you presented it well enough, I'm sure you'd be able to find investors."
"How can you be sure?"
He smiled at that. "You've got a thriving company in a market that needs the services you provide. If this were the Muggle world, they'd be lining up to lend you capital to expand."
She nodded slowly. Draco would probably have given her the money if she'd asked. If she had a business plan, maybe it wouldn't feel like charity. "I don't know how to draw one up."
"That's what I do. I'd be happy to help you out with it." His smile was open and sincere.
But, she wasn't born yesterday. There was always a catch. "What do you charge for something like that?"
"I usually charge a variable rate depending upon the size of the business, but I think we might be able to work something else out."
She raised an eyebrow. Oh, and wasn't that blush just adorable? Sweet Merlin, a man who could do that at his age. She was charmed.
"I was thinking of dinner, maybe. Truthfully, you're the first woman since…." He sighed. "I was --"
Oh, she’d rather not hear how that sentence ended. "I think dinner would be great. I work odd hours, at least until I can expand and hire more help."
"Then, I think it's in my interest to make sure that happens sooner rather than later."
She laughed. "Spoken like a true Slytherin."
"And that's good?"
"The best." She smiled at him. "So, tell me about going into hiding?"
"There's not much to tell. As I got older, I'd begun to realize that my parents weren't always right."
"Merlin, do I know about that. I went completely against mine when I came back to fight with Potter."
"And you were still condemned for it?"
"Pretty much from both sides." Which had always seemed remarkably unfair to her. But as she had told Dudley, life wasn't always fair.
"My parents hated magic, and they made sure I grew up believing that Harry and all like him were freaks. It wasn't until the summer we had to go into hiding that I actually thought about it. Harry had saved my life, twice by that point, and all I'd ever done was bully him." He looked down and sighed. "It occurred to me that maybe there was more to the world than what they'd said."
"And your parents still hate magic."
"They blame Harry for a lot of the woes in their life, even if they haven't seen him since my wedding. But really, they were miserable from the start. It wasn't Harry's fault that Sarah was a witch. Or that my mum's sister was a witch." He shook his head. "I just can't believe they rejected Sarah like that."
He took a breath. "But Sarah has me, and Harry's part of our family. And Molly Weasley treats her like another grandchild, so I guess it's going to even out."
"How did she --" Okay, that wasn't what she should be asking, no matter how curious she was. It had to hurt to talk about this. And she shouldn't be adding to it.
"It's okay. Sarah is pretty adaptable. I told her the truth, too. Because as much as it hurt, I wasn't going to sugar coat it. It helped that she already knew Harry and his family."
There was nothing Millie could say to that. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah, me too. But…." He closed his eyes for a second and then shrugged. "It's getting kind of late."
She didn't want to let him go just yet. "Can I see you home?"
That got a smile. "Aren't I supposed to say that?"
"I can Apparate, and you can't."
"Point. I'm assuming you know how to get to Grimmauld Place."
She stood and nodded. "Yeah, I met Severus and Potter there a couple of times when we were planning the wedding. It was easier than going all the way out to Godric's Hollow."
Dudley threw a few galleons on the table. And took her arm. She thought about the stoop of Grimmauld Place and let the world compress to get them there.
The crack echo was fading as they appeared on the door step.
They were pressed together tightly in the doorway. She should step back, except that he felt so good. That warm solid feel of a tall man.
"If I send one of the owls Harry told me about to you, it will know how to find you?"
"Yes. Owls can find anyone. Well, if they are under Fidelius, maybe not. But I'm not, so yours will be able to find me."
"Good." He put a hand to her hair, and his fingers carded through the strands. "It's beautiful."
"Thanks," she breathed as he leaned closer. Her heart started to pound nearly painfully as his lips pressed lightly to hers. As he leaned down a second time, her eyes drifted shut, and she tilted her head up to meet him half-way.
His lips were warm and strong on hers. After a moment, his tongue touched her mouth, and she opened under him. Damn, it had been too long since she'd kissed a man. He tasted good, like the beer he'd been drinking. His hands were firm in her hair.
When he pulled back, she sighed. She wanted to push him inside and have her way with him. But it was too soon. It had been a long time since she met a man she'd really liked. And Dudley was definitely someone she would like to get to know.
"I'd like to see you again," Dudley said against her mouth.
"Me, too." She kissed him again and stepped back. "Owl me soon."
"Are you free tomorrow night?" he asked, clearly not wanting to let it go too long. "Sarah will be here, but I could cook you dinner."
She couldn't believe her good luck with this man. "I never turn down a man who promises me food."
"I'll remember that for the future." He opened the door.
The future. Yeah. That was starting to look a look a lot different than she'd imagined at the beginning of this day.
"Do that," she said with a smile and Apparated away.