James was officially the most pathetic one in the family. Even Albus had a date. And Albus was an absolute mess…. But he'd still managed to trick some girl into coming with him. Even if she did look completely uninterested in him, it was still an obvious step. Especially with everyone but James currently out on the dance floor, laughing and having a jolly good time.
"Where's your girlfriend, then?"
Especially with Teddy so visibly and publicly calling him out. His cheeks pinking, James shoved yet another tiny cucumber sandwich in his mouth. "'e br'ke up," he muttered around the mush and prayed no one else had heard.
Teddy, dosed with no less than five glasses of champagne, merely chuckled. He was amused even while James' own expression held hesitation. He still wasn't sure exactly how he felt about Sinead breaking things off. Especially today. Especially here. "Sometimes it takes a few wrong ones to find the right," Teddy reassured once he caught James' pout.
"Easy for you to say…." For Teddy, it hadn't taken a couple "wrong ones". He and Victoire had been attached at the hip since they were young. James honestly couldn't remember a single memory of one without the other. And now here they were – blissfully married. All grins. Happy. Of course James was jealous, how could he not be? "Shouldn't you be waltzing with your wife?"
With a snort, Teddy looked over his shoulder to watch Victoire out on the dancefloor. The music-enchanted atmosphere pulsed with The Weird Sisters shouting out something unintelligible and one of their friend's toddlers was perched on her hip as she as she bounced around in pretty much the opposite of a waltz. "My wife…," Teddy laughed, a truly happy grin lighting up his face. There went that pang of jealousy again…. "You'll find someone, you know. You're quite the attractive bloke."
Still not having recovered from the previous embarrassment, James turned a full-on shade of red. "Thanks, Mum," he scoffed as a deflection.
Rolling his eyes, Teddy grabbed James' hand and pulled him stumbling towards the dancefloor before he could even think about protesting. "Jamie!" yelled several people in unison, like they'd been waiting for him. It became quickly apparent that Teddy might have been sent over to snag him instead of have a brotherly chat. "Dad send you over?" he shouted over the music.
Teddy stepped forward, his free hand resting on James' shoulder. The other, James became quite aware of, was still holding one of his own. Suddenly he was sure the palm was sweaty. "It's my wedding; I wanted to dance with my brother." Teddy's breath was soft and warm in his ear, his words just loud enough for them alone.
All nerves, James sputtered a laugh and tried his best to bob to the raucous music. Why was he so nervous?
"I meant what I said, by the way. About you being a catch and all."
The lick of emotion swirling in James' belly felt quite similar to the jealousy he held for the couple. Except….
"Honestly, I'd shag ya, so-"
James reeled back so violently he stepped on the heel of someone behind him. Stuttering an apology, he looked up into Teddy's waiting eyes. Searching for meaning and so consumed by what was now a raging fire inside his belly.
"-you should have no problem hooking another girl soon."
A new tune started and somewhere in the background Victoire screamed about it being their song. With a flash of teeth, Teddy vanished, leaving James to process it all on his own on the fringes of their dancing family. In an attempt to brush it off, he burbled with laughter first. A few meters away, his dad caught his eye and tilted his head. He smiled like nothing was wrong but was sure it fell flat. In order to hide this, he turned and caught sight of the happy couple not too far off. They were dancing slow and intimate, pressed close as they swayed to the soft crooning.
James had to rationalize that Teddy was drunk. Absolutely sloshed. He probably had no idea what he was saying. No one who danced like that could be sober. No one with inhibitions let themselves be that free. And, certainly, no one who wasn't drunk told their brother – godbrother - they were fuckable.
And some would likely argue that no one who wasn't drunk would be caught dead thinking for even a moment that his heart could be racing from anything but embarrassment after that not-so-subtle bomb being dropped. "Fuck," James whispered as the thought turned his stomach once again. As he realized just what that could all mean. As he stumbled off the dancefloor and back to his safe space by the food table, head now absolutely spinning and stuck on thoughts that were most definitely off-limits.