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Chapter 21: Old Meetings, Insane Boyfriends and Showdowns
I turn to search for the source of the yell and grin when I find him. I wave back at the boy who is waving frantically at me down the road before jogging towards him. As soon as I reach him, he pulls me into a gigantic bear hug, nearly crushing me, before planting a kiss on my lips.
“Henry!” I splutter as he lets go of me. “You’re fucking killing me.”
“Oh my God, Kat! I missed you so much!” he yelps as he takes my hand and pulls me over to the table he had reserved in the restaurant next to us. It’s a little deli on the end of a street; it’s crowded, full of people rushing about to get to where they need to go. Hundreds of busy people, yelling and chatting and muttering on the phone; perfect really- we can discuss things without being overheard. Much too loud.
We normally go to our favourite little restaurant, but Henry insisted this place was the place to be. I’m not sure why: it’s a little old and shabby, and dusty (from the road I suppose). The name of the place is unreadable- the plastic, cheesy letters have dropped off or are hanging upside down.
“I missed you too, Henry,” I grin and sit opposite him.
He leans forward and rests his chin on his cupped hands. Then he tilts his head to one side. “I believe you and I have a lot to discuss.”
“Yes, I believe we do. But, please, Hen, before we start talking about me, tell me all about what you’ve been up to.
He breaks into a dazzling smile and launches into another story.
I suppose I should explain. Henry is a Muggle- our next door neighbour actually. He was my best friend before I went off to Hogwarts- we attended primary school together. He knows about Hogwarts.
He’s skinny but somewhat muscular and quite tall: he has a dancer’s build (ballet dancing, dear). He’s very well groomed though: his blonde hair is perfectly gelled into a slick comb over that he can flick any time he wants. Hen has elfish features- pointy ears, a longish upturned nose: that sort of thing. He’s wearing tight cherry red jeans- that must be cutting off the circulation to his legs- and a cheesy t-shirt with the line written across it: “Made you look”.
Told you it was cheesy.
And let’s just say he was my guinea pig before I knew I was a witch and control my powers. Minor things of course- nothing big that got the Ministry’s attention. No-one ever bothered to Oblivate him. We write to each other most of the time, and make the effort to meet up every chance we get.
“Anyway, I met this gorgeous waiter here last week. Why do you think I brought you here? Well, it was a little awkward, really, a date brought me here and then this waiter was flirting with me-”
“Ooh. Date, eh? Who was it?”
Henry makes a face. “Do you remember Sam? You know, Malodorous Malcolm from primary? Yeah, he convinced me to go on this date-”
“Malodorous Malcolm’s gay?” I exclaim and sit forward.
You can tell we were nerds from the word go. We didn’t go for the easy nick-names like: Manky Malcolm or something like that. Oh no, we went for malodorous.
“Gay as anyone can get, dear. Well, I don’t know if you can get gayer than me… Yeah, well this new waiter- he’s young and hot! Like, seriously, Kat. Hot to trot, my friend. Anyway, he was totally gay- so much gel in his hair, Kat, and the obsession with dicky bows and ties? Carwyn he’s called- Welsh. I know, who knew a boy with such a thick Welsh accent could be attractive? Yeah, well I got his number- after the date, of course. I came back. So we went out and, he’s clever too Kat! Like, he wants to do medicine. He’s gonna be a rich surgeon. I mean, bonus!”
If you haven’t got it already (you must be a bit slow), Henry’s gay. He’s more girly than Dom. And I love him for it.
“Oh my God, Kat, he’s over there!” Henry cries, gesturing with a nod of his head towards a boy who looks around 18. He’s stood over a table, taking another group’s orders, but he spots us and smiles at both of us and winks at Henry. Henry meanwhile blushes bright red.
The boy is actually very striking- some mightn’t say he was good looking. With his long face and rather long features, he’s quite strange looking, but I’d say he was beautiful. He’s quite tanned with dark brown hair slicked back (oh Merlin, I can see the gel from here) and a blue spotty dicky bow tied around his neck.
“I see what you mean, Hen,” I mutter, winking at him knowingly. “Good catch.”
Henry grins cheekily back. “Don’t I know it.”
Another young waitress comes up to us and takes our order. She quickly leaves and we settle back down.
“Now,” Henry says as he leans further forward. “Tell me about you. You called an emergency meet-up? What’s going on with that hot to trot darling you call your boyfriend. Please tell me he’s gay.”
I roll my eyes. “He told me he loved me.”
Henry’s eyes glint and he sits forward so he’s practically lying on the table. Well, he doesn’t do gymnastics for nothing. “No way.”
“What did you say?”
“Well he kissed me just as the New Year came.”
“And then what did you do?”
“Stood there gawping like a fish and then ran off.”
“I know. I shouldn’t be allowed of my padded cell in a mental hospital.”
“Well, what have you been doing since?”
“Avoiding him. I went home the next day, mum got back. Sort of avoided him for the last four days.”
Henry opens his mouth to say something, but at that moment, the waitress returns carrying our meals. An uneasy silence settles upon us, made awkward by the fumbling waitress. As soon as she leaves, Henry grabs his knife and, after waving it threateningly at me, stabs his steak.
“Kat, you need to tell him you love him back! No-one wants to be the sucker who tells their girlfriend they love them and they don’t love him back!” Henry says, exasperated.
“But… I don’t love him. At least, not yet.” I whisper.
He leans back his chair and folds his arms. “Ah.”
“It’s been- what?- two months and a bit? I mean, sure, people say it way earlier but Merlin!” I cry desperately.
Henry sighs. “Look, I know couple who say I love you after two days, never mind two months. It’s sweet he waited two months.” He looks at me and takes a deep breath. “Okay, you listen here and you listen close, Kat. This boy obviously is head over heels for you. It took every ounce of his courage to say this, and he genuinely means it. Okay, you might not love him yet, but will you love him? If you don’t think you will, end it. Don’t be a bitch and lead him on.”
I cry out, offended. “Hey! I will love him. I mean, at least I think I will… And I’m not leading him on. I genuinely like him.”
“So you’re not just using him as a way to get over Albus?”
“What?! No! Of course not!” I practically yell.
Henry studies me and then leans back, satisfied. “Okay, obviously from your reaction, you’re not. But do you still like Albus? What’s going on between him and that Sarah girl?”
Henry is the only person I’ve told about my feelings for Albus- and only because he doesn’t attend Hogwarts. He’s met Albus and Rose, and they find him hilarious. Well, not so much Albus- I think he gets freaked out by the constant checking out he receives from Hen. He’s a bit of a manslag.
I drop my head onto the table and begin banging it quietly. “Fuck if I know Hen.”
I lift my head up and the surrounding couples and whatnot all look somewhat alarmed, but Henry just looks slightly amused.
“Okay, you do. But I’ll let you off. Albus seems like one fine piece of ass too. What did he do at the party?”
“Fine piece of ass, eh? How very American of you, Henry.”
“Darling, this is the 21st century. Now stop changing the subject!” Henry snaps his fingers together impatiently and leans back, crossing his legs.
“He danced with me,” I whisper.
He sucks in his cheeks. “Oh dear, oh dear. Dreams come true, at exactly the wrong moment.”
“That’s exactly what I thought!”
“What are you going to do?” he asks, raising his eyebrows at me.
“Fuck if I know,” I repeat. “Why do you think I called you?”
Henry sighs dramatically and takes my hand. He pats it somewhat patronizingly. “My dear, break it off with him if you don’t love him and you don’t think you will. End it if you still like Albus-”
I try to protest but he holds up a hand.
“But don’t, and I repeat don’t, lie and tell him you love him. That will just hurt him the most. Tell him the truth, and work on that whole falling in love thing.”
I nod slowly and take in his advice. Come to think of it, it’s pretty good advice.
Henry raises his eyebrows. “So what are you going to do?”
I shrug. “I’ll figure something out.”
“Okay Scorpius. You ready?” I crack my knuckles and stare at him. He gulps and nods at me.
We’re currently sat on Scorpius’ bed (oo-er) in Malfoy Manor. Let me tell you, Malfoy Manor is bloody intimidating. After my lunch-date-thingy with Henry, I took a taxi to near Malfoy Manor and walked down to the house. Scorpius met me and for the last few hours, I’ve been teaching him everything I can think of about Rose.
I even nicked her diaries.
Scorpius’ room is bloody huge. Surprisingly, it’s quite welcoming- unlike the rest of the house. The Manor is rather cold and uninviting: too large and empty and echo-y to feel like home. I have the feeling he doesn’t like to leave his room, or let others into it- he has three Muggle locks and a charm on it only to let someone in who knows the password.
(He made me stand well away when he muttered it).
It’s weird though- I’d expect him to have a bed and that would be it, but instead he’s even embraced Muggle technology. A large double bed stands grandly at one end of the room, and a huge dresser and a cupboard next to it. Near the bead is a fireplace where a bright fire is crackling. A fridge sits at the opposite end of the room, and a desk with a Muggle laptop sits on that.
When I asked if his dad is happy about the Muggle technology bit, Scorpius shrugged and threw me a fizzy drink and saying, “He doesn’t know.”
It’s dark though- the walls are dark green and the black curtains drawn.
Surprisingly, it’s extremely tidy with not a thing out of place. He even has coasters for our drinks.
“Who was Rose’s first ever crush?”
“Frank Longbottom when she was in First Year because he picked up her books for her when she dropped them when Flint ran into her.”
“What was her first pet?”
“A Muggle goldfish. She got it when she was six.”
“What did she call it?”
“What happened to it?”
“Hugo bought a scary one. It ate Rose's.”
“What was her favourite colour in Second Year?”
“Cyber pink. She watched too many Muggle rom-coms.”
“What is her favourite flower?”
“Despite her name, her favourite flower is actually the tulip. She is partial to the yellow tulip.”
I lean back on my bed and cup my hands behind my head. “Voila. We’re done. You know practically everything about her.”
Scorpius stops pacing around the room and looks up. The face that was creased with concentration just thirty seconds ago, visibly relaxes.
I grunt in reply and nudge him with my foot. “Yep!”
He turns and gapes at me. “Really? I know everything?” His voice broke on everything.
“Well, not everything. Everything I can possibly think of. There’s probably plenty of things I don’t know, but you’ll have to find that out for yourself,” I reply in a bored voice, packing up Rose’s diaries.
“But I have to know everything!” Scorpius cries, his voice slightly hysterical.
Alarmed, I lift my eyes from my bag and look at him. He’s staring at me, eyes wild, hair sticking up. “Scorpius, are you feeling okay?”
“No! Rose will expect me to know everything!”
I gape at him. “She won’t! Trust me, Scorpius! She’ll love that you’ve gone to the trouble of learning the little quirks, but she’s not going to quiz you on them.”
“How do you know?!”
“Dude, she’s your girlfriend, not a quiz master. It’ll be creepy if you know absolutely everything. Next you’ll be watching her sleep!” I cry, slightly scared.
He looks crazed; his eyes keep darting around the room and won’t focus on anything.
“Um, Scorpius? Have you drank had too much caffeine or something? Because when Tyrique has too much coffee, he goes all cranky and crazy and starts yelling weird stuff and questioning the universe and telling me the answer to everything is 42 which makes no sense and you’re sort of reminding me of him now…” I trail off when I realise I’m rambling.
“Sorry.” Scorpius sighs weakly and sinks back down into my bed. “It’s just hard, you know? I’m going to be here for Rose, don’t worry, but it’s just scary. I don’t know how Rose does it. And my father’s giving me a pretty hard time- he did his nut as soon as Rose and her parents left.”
“Yeah, he only stayed calm to piss off Ron. Childhood rivalry thing,” I say wisely. When he looks at me questioningly, I grimace and say, “I eavesdropped of Harry and Ginny. Harry explained.”
A somewhat awkward silence falls upon us and I shift about uncomfortably.
“Does Rose really like me?”
Startled, I blink at him. “What?”
“Does Rose actually like me? It’s just, sometimes I feel she might just be keeping me around because I’m the baby’s da- OW! What was that for?!” Scorpius cries indignantly as he rubs the side of his head I just hit.
“You’re an idiot. No, not just an idiot. A plimpy eating, bumbling idiot. Only an idiot wouldn’t be able to see that Rose is completely head over heels for you!”
Scorpius smiles slowly. “Really?”
“Jesus! Are you really only just realising this? Everyone knew you were going to get together- sexual tension an all of that!” I cry in exasperation. “ I wasn’t that surprised when this all happened- I mean, something like that was always going to happen. I was just surprised because, you know, it’s Rose. Rose just doesn’t go out and have sex and gets pregnant- I mean, that’s, well, Dom!
“And she definitely likes you a lot. She wouldn’t have slept with you if she didn’t. She’s not that sort of girl.”
Scorpius smiles cheerfully to himself. Those two are sickeningly cute- I’d puke if I didn’t like Rose. He bounds up and grins at me.
“I am going to be Rose’s perfect boyfriend. She won’t know what hit her!” Scorpius beams at me. I smile back weakly and punch the air with my hand.
He laughs- I know, Scorpius has a sense of humour! I never knew either- and skips, skips out of the room. Come on Scorpius, are you forgetting me? I don’t live here, I have no fucking clue how to get out of here. And that’s a bit rude, just skipping out of the room, leaving a guest unattended.
Merlin that bo-
“I forgot!” Scorpius cries as he charges back in. Quickly, he pulls me into a hug. Suddenly, he realises what he’s done and leaps back in disgust. He coughs awkwardly as I blush and cough too. Unsure what to do next, he salutes and walks backwards out of the room.
“… And then the elf said to the goblin-”
“The fuck was that?” I cry as the screams echoes through the house. Scorpius is in the middle of his the elf-and-the-goblin-in-the-tavern joke he’s told before and we’d just walked into the Potter household.
All I can here is yelling and screaming and stomping. Bewildered, I stumble into the house and into the living room.
“You fucking bitch!” Dom cries as she hurtles across the room. Before I blink, she slaps me across the face.
And Dom’s slaps fucking kill.
“The fuck was that for?” I cry, rubbing the spot where she hit me. I watch her reach for her wand, but before I can react, it flies out of her grip.
Looking astounded, Scorpius is clutching his wand. He disarmed her. “What did you do?” he yells at me.
“Yeah, Dom! What did I do?”
“You know what you did, you pile of Hippogriff dung, you-” she cries. She looks like a bloody lioness on coffee and she bloody is about to pounce. Fortunately, Fred comes up behind her, glares at me and drags her backwards.
“What-?” I manage to yell before the living room door is flung open again by James. He looks furious and is clutching his wand. He glares at me. What in Merlin’s name?
I realise all the Wotter kids are there (except Rose), glaring at me, including Albus- though he just looks bloody confused.
“I can’t believe you kissed another guy!” Lily storms. “I thought you were nice!”
“I- WHAT?!” I choke. “When did I-”
“I knew I shouldn’t have told I loved you! Scared you off!” James cries hysterically.
“You told her you love her? Aw, that’s so darn cute!” Roxanne simpers.
“Not the time, Roxie!” Lily yells.
“You could have just told me you didn’t love me back-”
“The nerve to show up here!”
“-Worse than a Blast-Ended Screwt!”
“-Should curse you right now!”
“Oh look at that!” Lily yells hysterically, drowning out the rest of the voices, gesturing to Scorpius. “You’ve been off doing the nasty with Rose’s boyfriend!”
“Rose’s boyfriend has a name you- Wait what?!” Scorpius cries indignantly, before blanching. I step away from him.
The door bangs open again and Rose is stood in the doorway, holding a massive tub of ice-cream in one hand and a spoon in the other.
“Katrina did whatnow with my whonow?” she hisses. The room goes deadly quiet.
“You think I slept with Scorpius?” I choke out, disgusted.
Scorpius looks slightly green. “I feel sick.”
“Well why not? You’ve been off going on dates with other boys! Probably sleeping with him too!” Dom screams wildly.
“Woah guys, calm down and take some yoga breaths,” Louis interrupts as he materializes behind Fred. He doesn’t speak much, but he’s pretty cool. He flips his blonde mop out of face and takes out his earphones before continuing. “Let’s all take a breather. What’s going on here?”
When everyone opens their mouths, he holds up a hand and closes his eyes. “One at a time, guys. Dom, you go first.”
“James and I followed Kat-”
“You followed me?!” I interrupt, indignantly.
“Woah Kat. Bad vibes, guys, when you interrupt. Let Dom finish. Then you can have your turn,” Louis tells me. He’s got a quiet voice but it carries, and I find it oddly soothing. I fold my arms and let Dom continue.
“Well, she met this boy and they hugged and he kissed her and they went on a date.” Dom continues and everyone hissed and glares at me.
“I genuinely have no idea what you’re talking about, Dom.” I say, bewildered.
“Was it definitely Katrina, Dom?” Louis says calmly. She nods sharply. “What did he look like?” he continues.
“Tall, blonde, blue-eyed-” James takes over.
“-Good looking.” Dom finishes.
I gape at them both. “You mean Henry?”
“So it has a name now?” Dom spits.
“Aha! She admits to it!” Lily cries.
Rose, meanwhile throws her spoon at James angrily and Albus slaps himself in the face. “You idiots!” they cry in unison.
The rest of the Potter clan all blink in confusion.
“Henry’s gay!” I cry, exasperated.
Dom clicks her tongue and tilts her head. “Explains the tight jeans…”
“Who’s Henry then?” Molly pipes up.
“He’s my old friend from primary school. A Muggle; we meet up in the holidays. Rose and Albus have met him.” I explain and they nod to prove my point. “He’s just a friend.”
“Why were you snogging him then?” James yells, not satisfied.
“I didn’t snog him! He kissed me when we met, didn’t he? It’s just his way of saying hi. Like some people do the European cheek kiss thing, some people shake hands, Henry kisses people.”
“He kissed me when we met,” Rose tells them as she fetches her spoon and tucks back into her ice-cream.
“And me...”Albus mutters, embarrassed.
“It doesn’t mean anything. He’d kiss all of you too, if he met you.” I tell them.
“Oh,” is all James can say.
Dom frowns. “What were you doing with Scorpius then?”
“I still feel sick,” Scorpius mutters, retching slightly.
Trying not to be offended, I say incredulously, “We’re friends! We hang out! Or is that not allowed?”
“Since when have you been friends?” Lily asks, surprised.
“Since he got my best friend pregnant. We decided we must get over our prejudices and bond!” I explain, lying through my teeth. “I was, um, helping chose some baby stuff. We were looking at some things for the baby.”
Scorpius nods feverously.
Well, I might have to buy some stuff to make the story work.
No-body seems to buy it until Rose sniffles a little. “Oh guys! That is so sweet! I love you!” she cries and, still clutching the ice-cream, she pulls us both into a hug.
Scorpius looks grateful and he smirks at me. Hey, he seems nice enough. I’m not going to embarrass him.
Dom sighs. She walks up to me, hugs me and says loudly, “Sorry for slapping you, Kati. You know what I get like when I pissed off. The red mark should go down in the next twenty-four hours or so.”
Then she prances out of the room like nothing happened.
Each Weasley slinks back off to whatever they were doing, some flooing back home- did they just turn up for the fight?- and a couple grin at me and say stuff like, “Sorry! Knew you weren’t like that.” And, “Aunt Hermione has some cream for that slap mark by the way.”
And this is why the Wotter family is deemed as insane.
Rose takes Scorpius’ hand and drags him out of the room. I have a feeling she will get him to buy more ice-cream.
Everyone leaves until it’s just James, Albus and I.
Albus coughs awkwardly. “So. I’m going to go now because I’m guessing, just going out on a limb here, you guys might want to talk things through and those things probably don’t want to be discussed in front of me so I’m going to meet my girlfriend, my very hot girlfriend, who is waiting for me somewhere in London… Kaybyenow.”
And he slinks out of the room.
See this is why I always thought we should date- we both digress. A lot.
Aw shit. See, this is why I can’t meet up with Henry. He bloody confuses everything. Even my feelings.
“So,” James says, tugging at his collar.
I’ll admit, I’m pissed off. I know I reacted badly but stalking me, accusing me of cheating and getting the entire family involved? Whole new low.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t get the entire family to attack me next time you create some made-up fantasy,” I say coolly, glaring a little at him.
He frowns and glares back. “Hey, you were the one who’s been ignoring me since I told you a loved you.”
“I wasn’t ignoring you!” I cry. You know, even though I totally was.
“Don’t deny it! You have been! We’re going back to school in two days, and you’ve been avoiding me like I have the plague!” James hisses.
“Listen, I reacted badly, but there was no need to follow me. I understand how you got to that conclusion, but that was just low getting the whole family involved. They’re my friends too, James.” I tell him quietly.
James swallows. “I would just appreciate an answer by now.”
“An answer to what?” I frown, confused.
“You know, an “I love you too” or even “I don’t love you”. That would be nice,” James says, deadly quiet. It feels like some sort of showdown, which isn’t what you want you and your boyfriend’s conversations to feel like.
I have my answer all planned out, the whole spiel. The: “I-don’t-want-to-say-I-love-you-because-then-it-just-sounds-like-I’m-saying-it-because-you-said-it-to-me-I-want-to-say-it-when-the-time-is-right” thing that Henry helped me plan (he wrote it on a napkin. I have it in my pocket.)
But then I look up from his little broomstick socks that I have been staring at intently for the past five minutes and up into his face. He looks so pathetic and sad and worried and-
Oh Merlin, I can’t say that to him.
“I… I love you too, of course I do, James,” I hear myself saying, despite my brain’s protests. His previously sad face breaks into this huge beaming smile that practically lights up the whole room and he runs at me, pulling me into a hug.
Weirdly, I find myself blinking back tears as I rest my head on his shoulder.
What have I done?
My brain and mouth are not connected.
Eager to run, I pull away. “I… Of course I love you, but that was a low blow. Y-you’re going to have to make that up to me, okay?”
He nods and kisses me gently.
However guilty I feel, I melt into the kiss again.
Then, I break away and walk out of the room. I keep walking out of the house until I’m far away from the house. As soon I’m sure I’m out of sight, I run.
Disclaimer: - The answer to everything is 42 is a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy and is purely Douglas Adams’ work. I do not own it, although I would very much like to! :]
Hey there! Reasonably quick update considering I’ve been on my holidays! Worked on it there- pretty inspiring actually. I really enjoyed this chapter so I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it! Keep reading and reviewing :]