Procrastination (Worth the Risk #2)

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It’s just dinner.

There’s no need to be nervous or worried. After all, they’ve had dinner together many times over the years. True, the other dinners weren't after Teddy pressed her against the bookshelves and kissed her as if his life depended on it nor had Hermione usually been so dazed and uncertain. Her lips are still tingling from his kiss, which was more passionate and desperate than she’d ever been kissed before. Oh, Ron had wanted her, especially when they were younger, but they’d been such good friends and their passion had been more of a slow burn than a blazing inferno.

Nothing with Teddy seems to be slow at all, and that scares her in a feminine way that she’s never felt in the past. She’d loved Ron since she was a teenager, and it hadn’t been until months after the last battle at Hogwarts that they’d actually started their relationship in a dating and then making love way. Neither of them had wanted to rush into anything, even though they both knew it was what they wanted, and it hadn’t taken that long for things to progress between them, but it certainly hadn’t been so fast that she couldn’t catch her breath and felt like she very well might sob if she didn’t touch him again.

No, that’s how she feels now, and she doesn’t like it at all. She knows lust is important, but there’s a difference between fantasy and reality. Teddy seems to have a crush of some sort on her, possibly because they’ve been working so closely or he’s aimless after breaking up with Victoire, but it’s not enough for her to be stupid and careless. They kissed, and it was, well, it was amazing. A kiss is just a kiss, though, and she can’t think it means anything more. She’ll have dinner with him, she’ll give him his chance, and then she’ll hope she can walk away without giving in to her desires because there are far too many risks involved for her to do something so rash.

“Stop it.”

“Stop what?” She blinks at the folders she’s straightening and glances up. “I have to organize my desk before we can go.”

“You’re not organizing, Hermione. You’re staring at the same file while trying to talk yourself out of having dinner with me, most likely. You already agreed, and I’m not going to let you go without a fight,” he says with more than a hint of stubbornness.

“Right now, you remind me of Hugo when he’s not getting pudding with dinner,” she points out dryly. “If you’re trying to make a case for being mature and not a child, you might consider not acting like a spoiled brat who wants to play with his favorite toy.”

“You’re not a toy, and I’m not a brat.” He smiles slightly and looks her over in a way that is far from boyish before he drawls, “Well, you’re not that kind of toy, but I’m open for suggestions elsewhere. I’m very agreeable to exploring any fantasy that you have, you know?”

“Teddy!” She gapes at him even as her cheeks flood with color. She’s flustered, which is highly annoying, and he seems pleased at managing to get to her once again. “You are most certainly a brat, as you’ve just successfully proven.” She scowls at him and shuts her file before stacking it neatly with the others. “I wasn’t going to cancel dinner, for your information. I was just thinking about a variety of things that you should be more concerned about instead of flirting and letting your mind wander to places it shouldn’t.”

“You’re procrastinating and probably have convinced yourself that I’m a na´ve young man that you’re wickedly taking advantage of by leading me on with promises of dinner when you very well know you won’t relax and actually try to enjoy being with me because it scares you,” he says thoughtfully. At her arched brow, he smiles smugly and ruffles his violet hair. “I’m not stupid, Hermione, nor do I have trouble observing and forming thoughts on my own. I’m actually quite brilliant when I apply myself, as you’ve said several times in the past.”

“And so very modest,” she adds, shaking her head. They’re not at all well-matched, regardless of their age and work situation, and this just proves it. He’s clever and talented, but he’s also handsome and more than a little arrogant. Not to mention that she analyzes and gives everything careful thought while he’s inherited his mum’s impulsiveness. "Ah, the arrogance of youth."

“Modesty is overrated. Besides, I might be slightly arrogant, but I'm not conceited. They're not exactly the same thing, you know? I know my strengths, and my weaknesses, for the record you’re probably keeping in that gifted mind of yours, but I don’t expect others to praise me without my earning it.”

“I’m not keeping records in my mind,” she denies. “I’m simply wondering when you became so insufferable.”

“Considering the number of people I’ve heard call you insufferable, I’ll take that as a compliment.” He walks over to her desk, his hair fading into a deep burgundy as he puts his hand on hers. “I thought we were past the nerves, Hermione. It’s just dinner. I’m not going to force you to fall for me or anything like that, and I promise I won’t sulk too much if I’m wrong and there’s nothing more between us than attraction. Now, will you stop fussing with your files so we can go eat? My boss is a slave driver, and she’s kept me at work two hours late already.”

“Your boss. God, that’s another reason we shouldn’t do this,” she mutters, trying not to think about how good his hand feels on hers, how large and warm it is, how rough his palms are against her skin. Instead, she thinks about her boss finding out, about him telling everyone she’s been fired for cavorting with an intern, about how disappointed Kingsley would be to hear that she can’t control her hormones after he pulled strings to get her into the department all those years ago. “Kingsley will kill me.”

“I think it would take a lot to drive anyone who's been the Minister of Magic to commit murder,” Teddy says quietly. “Somehow, I don’t think you going to dinner with someone of age who not only consents but has actually had to pursue in order to gain said dinner agreement is just cause. I know it’s not the best of circumstances, but we can figure it out when we need to. I know how much your job means to you, Hermione, and I’d never put it at risk. You know that.”

“No, I know, Teddy, but there are so many reasons why this isn’t a good idea. Can’t you understand that?”

“I do understand. I mean, I waited for months before saying anything because I kept doubting myself or thinking you just considered me one of the children or wouldn’t, uh, say yes because I do hate rejection like most people. And then when I resolved to take the chance, I waited until I was twenty, so you couldn’t argue that I was just a teenager in some flippant manner. This isn’t me being bold and daring, Hermione. I’ve thought about this a lot, in fact, and you’d even be proud to know that I’ve made lists and everything.”

“You made lists?”

He grins and nods. “Oh, yeah. Quite a few lists, in fact. True, the largest pile consists of things I think about doing with you and, uh, well. What can I say? I’m a man. I think about sex a lot. One study claims eighty percent of a man’s thoughts between ages sixteen and twenty-six are about sex in one way or another. So, I’m healthy and normal, and you’re at your sexual peak, which means it’s perfect.”

“You did research?” she squeaks, narrowing her eyes slightly as he looks rather smug. “You quote statistics at me, Lupin, but that doesn’t mean anything more than you obviously not having enough work to keep you busy.”

“Talk about insufferable, as well as obstinate as fuck,” he mutters before he smiles hopefully. “Do I have to kiss you again to distract you from being responsible and continuing to postpone dinner?”

“Language. And no, you don’t have to kiss me again! There’ll be no more kissing or distractions of that nature. Since you refuse to listen to reason, we can go to dinner.” She tries for no-nonsense but worries that she sounds far too breathless at the thought of kissing him again. It’s really most unfair that he’s done this. After months of fantasizing about him, for him to just suddenly launch a sneak attack in order to get a date has left her flustered and nervous.

The smug git even admitted to having lists and planning this, which means she’s obviously not as observant as she prides herself on being if she completely overlooked the fact that he was making lists of sexual thoughts about her. Bloody hell, she hadn’t even been able to counter that bit of information because he was smirking and looked far too sexy for her to focus on anything beyond wondering what exactly was on the lists.

“I don’t have to, true, but maybe I want to?” he suggests with what she can only describe as a naughty smile. His eyes are a lighter shade of brown than hers, more gentle usually, but tonight, his stare is intense and she can’t quite look away from him. His hair is back to the normal length, long enough that his Gram is always after him to get a haircut but just barely brushing against his shoulders. Instead of one of the many colors of the rainbow, he’s let it go back to its normal brown.

She clears her throat and turns away so she can get her bag. “We should go now,” she says, tightening her grip on her bag when she feels a hand on her shoulder. The leather is soft beneath her fingers, well worn from years of use, and she focuses on it even as her body sways back towards Teddy.

“Let me help,” he murmurs, voice husky beside her as he leans forward and presses against her as he reaches for her bag. His fingers brush against hers, and he sighs as he moves just enough to provide full contact with her back. “You’re right. We should go now.”

She’s oddly disappointed when he takes her bag and steps back. “I’ll just get the lights.” She waves her wand and the candles are extinguished before she hears him move. She’s suddenly pressed against her desk in the dark, and he’s kissing her hungrily, moving his hands down her back and pulling her closer to him as he traces her lips with his tongue. She whines softly and raises her hands, intending to push him away but failing to consider her body is refusing to listen. Today.

Instead, she curls her fingers around the front of his shirt and moves her free hand into his hair, tangling her fingers in the thick locks as she parts her lips for him. She curls her tongue around his, sucking gently as she grips his shirt and hears him whine before he rocks forward. When she feels the evidence of his growing arousal pressed against her leg, she pulls her mouth free from his and tries to regain control. They’re both panting, and one of his hands is on her bum while the other is on her ribs, where he was moving it higher before she pulled back.

“Dinner,” he murmurs against her ear before he licks the lobe and kisses the sensitive skin beneath it. “Do you, uh, have a, um, preference?” He stammers his question in between licks and nibbles that make it impossible to think.

“No preference,” she says, tugging lightly on his hair while she unconsciously rolls her hips up towards him. The sound of a door slamming closed outside the hall startles her and reminds her where they are. She moves quickly, knocking over the files she just organized, and slides off her desk. “Oh God.”

“It’s okay, Hermione. I’ll fix the files.” He lights his wand and kneels down, long fingers brushing against the paperwork in a way that makes her skin tingle and her nipples harden. She shifts awkwardly and tries to regain control. How can she possibly have dinner with him when she was just writhing against him on her own bloody desk? He glances up and smiles as he stands and holds out his hand. “All fixed. As for dinner, I think I know the perfect place. Trust me?”

His voice is hesitant and unsure even as he smiles confidently. Her heart is racing, her knickers are already damp, and her lips are still wet from their kisses. He’s giving her a chance to refuse, she realizes, and it’s obviously not something he wants to do but the fact that he is means a lot to her. Slowly, she nods and puts her hand in his. “I trust you, Teddy.”

The relief he feels is evident in the way his body seems to lose some of the tension and the way he grins widely as he curls his fingers around hers. “Ted,” he tells her firmly before he ends the Lumos and leads her out of the office. “I know that you like Italian, so I’ll take you to one of my favorite restaurants. It’s Muggle and close to my flat, so I eat takeaway from there a lot.”

“You’ve been Teddy for twenty years. I think it’ll take me awhile to adapt to you wanting to be called Ted now,” she points out. “And Italian sounds great. I’m actually rather hungry now that I think about it.”

He glances at her and smiles. “Oh, I’m absolutely ravenous, but I can wait to fully sate my hunger. For now, Italian is good. After that, well, we’ll see.”

“Incorrigible,” she mutters, knowing full well from the look he’s just given her that he’s not talking about being ravenous for food at all. She releases his hand before they leave her office and takes her bag from him. When he starts to protest, she shakes her head and walks to the lift. “I appreciate the gallantry, but I’m not a schoolgirl wanting her books carried to class by a handsome popular boy, so I can certainly carry my own bag.”

“You think I’m handsome?” he asks, flashing a teasing grin as he nudges his hip against hers. “I knew it. You’re just after me for my body, aren’t you? I should probably feel used, but, alas, I’m far too willing to be taken advantage of by you. And, you know, my stamina will make up for the lack of muscle, unless you want me to change---”

“No,” she says firmly, catching his gaze as she frowns at him. “I don’t want you to change for me. I quite like you just the way you are, arrogance and all.”

“Oh. Well, uh, right,” he murmurs, looking sheepish as he glances at the ground and smiles shyly. “Some girls would want more, you see, and I’m able to change pretty easily.”

“If any girl isn’t happy with you just as you are, then she doesn’t deserve you in the first place,” she tells him honestly. “Your ability is amazing, of course, but it shouldn’t be used to change who you really are or to become someone else.”

The lift arrives, and they step on before he says anything. “It is an amazing gift, and it can be fun sometimes, but you’re right. I never really thought of it that way. So, you don’t mind that I’m tall and bordering on the skinny side of muscular? I'm still quite fit, even if you can't really tell beneath all these clothes. Guess I could take them off later to prove it, if I must.” He sighs dramatically and winks, deliberately teasing now that they're in the privacy of the lift. He smirks and reaches up to brush her hair back from her face, fingers lingering a moment too long to simply be casual. ”I wasn’t lying about my stamina, by the way.”

“I think you’re lovely just the way you are, Teddy. Ted,” she says, feeling more comfortable than she has since he entered her office earlier. In fact, by the time the lift arrives in the lobby, she feels almost daring, in her own way. Smiling mischievously as the doors of the lift open, she speaks softly despite the lobby being empty so there's no real danger of anyone overhearing. “And I think those statistics of yours are wrong because it seems to be far more than 80 percent of the time. Fortunately for you, the research about a woman my age was accurate. You’d need that stamina, should things progress to such a level, because I’d most definitely wear you out.”

With a smug smile of her own at his look of pleased surprise, she steps off the lift and decides to stop worrying and focus on enjoying dinner. Whatever happens after that, if anything, can be worried about later.

End