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Chapter 1: oh, so tantalizing . . .
His words were as poisonous as aconite. She swallowed them one by one, hoping that in doing so that she would cut her life short. For there was no life, without him. At least, none that was worth living. This she had assured herself several times. For her mind seemed to doubt this logic that her heart was thrusting upon it, and it wasn’t yielding half as well as she may hope it might. He was killing her softly, and she rather not be dead. Yet she couldn’t pry herself from underneath his grip, she loved him endlessly even if he couldn’t bare to look at her. Even if all his arsenic laced words brought tears sprigging to her eyes like a dark cloud expelled rain. She didn’t know why she stayed. Maybe it was the name he said her name, it sounded like tinkling bells and it flew off his tongue in such a way that it sounded divine, maybe it was the fact that he was the only handsome man who had taken a fancy to her, or perhaps it was the way he kissed her as if his lips were ice and she was the only one to melt away all his frigidity. All that she knew was that he was dangerous, and she liked that about him. She knew that he would be the death of her, but somehow she was okay with that.
It was duplicity and a paradox, this insanity known as their relationship, but her mother once told her that anything worth having wasn’t easy. So why would love be any different? It was magical, it was inviting, and yet it was also cold and desolate. She thought that’s what made her keep coming back time and time again. The mystery and intrigue of it all. He was an enigma, and somehow that was enough to make her try to break through that fortress of ice that he had cleverly constructed all about himself to keep the world out. She couldn’t leave him if she tried.
Her long flaming red hair spiraled around her short, lithe frame, and her hickory eyes danced within their limited frame. He would be home soon, and she was relishing seeing him again. It always made her heart beat a little faster knowing that he would soon be home. It was a silly and childish notion, but he could assuage her like few could, and she was not sorry for feeling this way. Her lips curved into a smile. He would be returning home to her, and that was all that mattered, really. Because when all was said and done, she would rather spend this one lifetime with him, than a thousand without.
He looked stoic, as he always did, and held his head haughtily as he walked. He was so brazen and bold, even the way he pushed open the door made her heart beat unnecessarily fast and, furthermore, made her swoon. He had an aristocratic face much like his ancestors, and dark eyes that resembled the darkest granite. He looked as if he had been crafted by the gods, themselves. His blonde fringe fell into his eyes, but that didn’t bother her in the least. She thought he looked more handsome that way.
Her mother despised everything from his hair to his surname, and her father was no better. It disgusted her. Such champions of unity after the second wizarding world, and yet they held such a bias for his name. It made her irritable. Though, her parents weren’t the only ones that were acting stupid about her beloved. Her friends, her cousins, her own siblings seemed to think her mad. Yet it was her own hearts decision whom she loved, and she yearned for him with every fibre of her being. She knew that sometimes she grew weary of him, but she knew that sometimes he wasn’t zealous about being in her presence. Commitment wasn’t simply being there when the sun was shining and the clouds were full to the brim of cheer. It was being there when the kelpies, hail storms, and inevitable darkness settled in. He had been her only constant, in her times of need. The only one that had been there to soothe her in her hardships. So it was worth the sarcasm, the harsh sting of his words, and the cool frigidity and lack of exuberance expressed in his moodiness. Because when everything was going well — they were golden, and shone far more radiantly even than cousin Victoire’s hair.
She was well aware that her family was simply concerned for her well being, but they ought to trust her enough to make her own choices. One should hope, at her age, she would be able to make her own decisions. Surfeiting their knowledge of all going’s on in her house was not only exhausting but insulting. It was as if she were the six year old they couldn’t trust again. She wished that they would keep their noses kindly out of her business.
She knew that they weren’t trying to stifle and suffocate her, but she was so ready for them to cut the safety net they’d twined about her waist as a security measure. She was fine, she didn’t need them mollycoddling her, her entire life. What was more, was that they were wrong about him. He truly was a wonderful person under the wintry exterior he put up. She knew full well that it was a defense mechanism, he had been hurt too many times, and didn’t want to be hurt again. They didn’t know him the way that she did. She knew that he was sensitive and vulnerable, even if he would never exhibit these traits to her family. Why should he? It wasn’t as if they’d ever given him a chance, and that irritated her. The family that was supposed to be so accepting was as biased as they had been years ago.
She observed him critically, surveying everything from his expression to his boy language. He seemed in a decent mood. Maybe today would be the day where their persistent arguing stopped. After months of it, it would come as a relief, like cool shade on a hot summer’s day or warm rain on a bitterly cold day. She gazed into his grey eyes, wishing to express herself to him freely. Yet she fretted that by saying anything, at all, it might set him off again. He had been stressed out, as of late, and she didn’t want to make it worse.
“Lily,” he spoke. He gazed at the mess on the stove and smirked. “You never were the world’s greatest cook,” he admitted, looking at her. He noticed her hurt expression. “I mean that in the most loving way possible. I know that it’s the thought that counts.”
She nodded, silently.
“Lily, it’s okay,” he went on. “I know that things haven’t been easy for us, as of late, but I assure you that I’m in a better mood than I have been.”
“All right, Scorpius.”
“I love the way you say my name.”
So do I, she thought. Though, this wasnot in response to herself saying his name. She had always adored the way that her name slipped off his tongue. It almost sounded French when he said her name, and it made her swoon all over again. She wondered if he knew how much it thrilled her for him to say her name. It was stupid, really, but she couldn’t help it. Sometimes it was the smallest things that could either make or break a relationship.
“You know what a more fitting name for you would be?”
“What?” he asked her.
For the first time in months, it seemed that she had done something right. He wasn’t crying, screaming, snarling, or yelling. He was smiling, and it had been the firs time she had seen the corners of his lips twitch upward like that in eons. It made her grin, too. “Yet, if I’m such poison, why do you stick around?”
It was an inquiry that she had been asked a lot by the people that she loved. If he was so horrid, why did she stick around. She loved him, plain and simple. When the sun was shining, and when there was a torrential downpour. Love simply didn’t exist when things were golden and the world was full of hope, it was there to weather the nastier storms, as well. Sure there were tears, but amid the tears were also laughter and joy.
She didn’t know why that was so hard to fathom.
“You’re a tantalizing oleander. I would say one worth dying for.”
He smirked. “Is that so?” he asked, taking her hand in his own and drawing her nearer. He kissed her for so long that she thought she might suffocate.
“You know, when I said you were worth dying for, I didn’t think you’d take it literally,” she protested. He laughed. “So that’s funny?” she blinked. She failed to see the humor in this, but she could sense that he didn’t want to fight. In all honesty, she didn’t, either. They had done far too much of that, as of late.
He simply ignored her challenge, and let the unwanted words dissipate into the air. There was no need for yet another argument. He thought if they got into it again, he wouldn’t have any tonsils left. Those may come in handy for later use. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Certainly, their relationship wasn’t picture perfect, but what one truly was? They had their ups and downs like any other couple. All she knew was that one day he would propose, and she would say yes, and they would be married. It would be imperfect, it would be flawed, but it would be magical and it would be her little piece of heaven. Yes, she could live with that.
He turned her back to her, and she assumed that it was to clean the travesty she had left on the burners of the stove. She had, indeed, meant well by it, but she knew it was silly of her to bother. She had a habit of burning everything from toast to meatloaf. Unlike her mother and Nana Weasley, she couldn’t cook to save her own life. It was probably a good thing that he could cook, though, and not only that, but very well. It was fortunate that she never had to eat the concoctions of her own hand.
He then turned toward her, bending down on one knee in their kitchen. “Lily Luna Potter, will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she said, half-laughing, half-sobbing. She couldn’t believe that this moment had finally come for her. Her cousins and siblings had all married before her (even the Scamander twins were engaged before her), but now it was her chance. The twenty six year old couldn’t believe it, she didn’t know if the gravity of the situation would ever fully hit her. She was wanted, she was needed, she was loved! She examined his face, he had never looked so beautiful. She was startled to see that tears of joy were streaming down his cheeks, as well. She never saw him cry before, despite the fact that she had always told him that there was no shame in it.
“What?” he said with a nervous laugh. “Aren’t Malfoy’s allowed to show emotion?”
“Of course,” she told him with a water smile. Hugging him tightly, she buried her face into his shoulder. She was the luckiest woman alive. “Holy Hippogriffs, does that mean that you got daddy to finally accept you?”
“I don’t know if he accepts me, but he seems to know that you’re not giving up, and I’m not relenting, either. In the end, he consented. Your brothers threatened to kill me if I hurt a hair on your pretty little head, though,” he grinned.
She narrowed her chocolate eyes. “It’s a good thing that I’m marrying you then. If they touch one hair on your head, I’ll be just as poisonous as you.”
He laughed. “Ah, so you’ll become an oleander, too? Pity. I liked you just the way you are.”
“The prettiest lily, I’ve ever seen. A dark red flower freckled with brown and black spots, hanging it’s head higher than the orange, yellow, and white lilies. For they could never measure up to it’s radiance.”
She smiled. She didn’t care what her family said. They were wrong. He was the most romantic, most wonderful man in the world, and he was the only one for her. They would see. “You are the only one for me, and the only one I would ever trust with my heart.” She rested her head on his shoulder, for she thought if she looked into his eyes again she would start crying again. This was the most magical moment in her life — more so than when she accidentally turned James’ hair bright pink for a month via accidental magic, got her Hogwarts letter, learned to fly, stood out with Teddy and Victoire counting the glimmering stars in the sky, or any other moment in her life worth remembering. No, this had to be the best day ever, and she was spending it in the arms of an oleander — a shrub she had always admired for it’s beauty and magnificence.