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Chapter 7: Distraction
For writetolive13 for the kind words.
The bike was in the same place I’d left it days before. The ride was the same couple hours of leg-burning and humidity. And the diner still didn’t have air conditioning.
I didn’t care. It was a different place.
I sat at the counter and ordered the same grilled cheese and it was delivered to me by the same waitress. For a while, I listened to people talk about their houses, mortgages, and movies they’d seen lately. One bloke in a wide hat talked about some surgery he had scheduled in a few days.
After I finished, I took out my sketch pad and pastels and began to paint the stack of plates against the far wall. I liked the shadows.
Once that was complete, I abandoned the diner and decided to walk for a bit, admiring the structures. It was such a strange town – everything was in one, central location. It wouldn’t take me more than five minutes to walk from one end to the other. Still, I liked it. It was homey. Relaxed. No pressure.
I passed a small office building and then the second diner, eyes fixed ahead of me. There were a few rusted cars and some dumpsters near the end of the building. Maybe I could sketch the road coming into town. I paused beside the diner window, reaching down into my bag to check if I had brought the pencils.
I wheeled around. Scorpius had just come out of the diner, hair messy and still chewing some of his food. He looked surprised. Hell, so did I.
“Hey,” I said, caught off guard by the nerves in my voice.
“I –” Scorpius paused to swallow. “Listen, I’m sorry I lost my temper yesterday.”
I stared. I didn’t know what to say. How could I tell him I knew about his mum? He hadn’t told me for a reason. Maybe he wanted to keep our friendship separate.
“I’m sorry,” I said, shaking my head. “You shouldn’t be.” I finally met his stare. “Did you end up going into town?”
“I did.” He nodded.
“What else did you get up to last night? All I did was read.”
“Nothing,” Scorpius replied. “Just watched television with my father.”
I paused. “Just your father?”
He nodded. “It was a boring night.”
I took the opportunity to glance into the diner. It was set up in a similar way to the first, but bathed in a beige paint. And just as I dreaded, the raven-haired girl was at the counter.
“Ah,” I said, voice a little higher than usual. “Well, it was nice seeing you. I’m glad you had a good night.” I looked to the left and right, trying to find a way to escape. My bike was all the way at the other end of the road.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
“Just came on a whim.” I shrugged. “Listen, I have to go. It was really nice seeing you.” I moved past him quickly and down the sidewalk, face burning.
“Hey, Rose?” he called.
I didn’t answer, picking up my pace.
“You’re a really shit liar.”
I hated tossing and turning. Especially when everyone else was in the living room playing board games. I could hear Mum squeak every time she got points. The bed was a disaster. Blankets everywhere. Fan pointed at my face. I couldn’t sleep.
And I felt like an idiot because I couldn’t sleep.
What was the big deal, anyway? Nothing. Scorpius could have dinner with as many girls as he pleased. I wondered if the raven girl knew about his mum. She had to! She was in his house! Though Mrs. Malfoy wasn’t downstairs.
Godric. Tossing. Turning. My stomach was in shambles.
And now I knew something. And he had no idea that I knew.
And I felt like a jerk for letting him so much as talk without telling him that I knew. I was a jerk for being such a jerk when he was dealing with his mum.
Who the hell was that girl?
Was I also a jerk for wanting to accidentally spill her drink on her?
I groaned and turned over. Then jumped, shrieked, and fell off the far side of the bed.
“Queen of stealth,” Scorpius muttered, climbing through my bedroom window. “Get back up there. I heard footsteps.”
He vanished under the bed just as the door opened.
Dad peeked in. “Did you get abducted?” he asked, brow raising.
I shook my head. “Had a strange dream,” I replied, crawling back under the covers. In the most not-attractive pajamas ever invented with kittens on them.
“Well, if you do, at least leave a note, okay?” He smirked. “You’re sure you don’t want to play? Hugo’s losing and I’m having fun watching his face turn colors.”
I smiled. “I’ll be okay. Thanks though.”
He blew a kiss and slid the door closed with a snap.
I heard a groan and Scorpius crawled out from under the bed. “Less room under there than I thought,” he said, getting to his feet. “Move over, Juliet. I didn’t climb this balcony for nothing.”
“My room is off the deck,” I said slowly.
“Yes, well, that’s not the point.” He shoved me over and sat beside me, back against the headboard. “Cute kittens.”
I pulled the blanket up to my chest. “What’re you doing here? It’s late.”
“Something’s wrong with you.” He shrugged a little. “Came to make sure you were okay.”
I shot him a look. “I’m fine. Just tired.”
“You left in a hurry today,” he said lightly. “You were sore with me yesterday. Will you just tell me what’s wrong so I can fix it?”
My lips parted as I craned my neck to meet his gaze. “Why would you want to do that?”
“Just tell me or I won’t be able to sleep.” Scorpius shifted and then kicked off his shoes. “I’m not leaving until you do.”
“My parents are in the living room.”
“Better hope they don’t walk in,” Scorpius said, smirking. “You have a boy in your bed.”
I was happy it was dark because my cheeks were heating up. “I’m sorry I’ve been being a twat,” I said after a while. That was safe enough, right?
“What?” He raised a brow. I could make out the angles of his face in the light coming from under the door. “I’m pretty sure the only point you were being a twat was out by the lake.”
“What did you have planned?” I asked, releasing a sigh. Our shoulders were touching.
“I thought we could go into town and try the most horrible-sounding food in the general store,” Scorpius explained with a smile. “Then maybe get some real dinner so I could apologize if I made you uncomfortable in the shed.” He looked over in a curious way.
“I was fine,” I said, shaking my head. “Okay, it was a little weird.”
He chuckled softly. “I thought so too,” he replied. “Though it was a hell of a nap.”
I couldn’t hide the smile. “Yes, it was.”
Scorpius leaned his head against the board behind us. “I am sorry I was short with you, though. I don’t normally do that. I just had a bad morning.”
“Oh.” I rubbed my lips together. “Sorry I was avoiding you.”
“Just had some … issues at home.”
“Ah,” I replied awkwardly. “Sorry.” I looked away, focusing on the door.
Scorpius paused and then I felt him move on the bed. “Look at me,” he said.
“Why?” I didn’t.
“Rose, look at me.”
Finally, I turned, heart hammering. His eyes were reflecting the light from the hall. I couldn’t focus on anything else. Everything was a blur.
“What do you know?” he asked in a voice so soft I almost couldn’t hear them.
“What?” I whispered.
“You know,” he said, leaning away. “Salazar, you know already.”
I blinked, snapping myself out of wherever my mind was going. “I know what?” I asked nervously, eyes instantly moving to the window. To anywhere but his. Hell.
“Who told you?”
“Who told me what, Scorpius?” I asked, releasing a breath. Why was I so nervous? Terrified? My fingers clutched the blanket at my middle.
“You know about my mother.”
My jaw fell and I finally looked back at him, face on fire. What could I possibly say to that? Called out. Absolutely called out before I could admit it. I should have said something the minute he crawled into my bed. When he came out of the diner.
“I do,” I replied softly.
“I have to go.” Scorpius swung his legs over the bed and was out the window before I could so much as apologize.
“You’ve been taking a lot of walks lately, muffin,” Dad said, eyeing me over the top of his morning paper. He couldn’t fool me. I knew he was reading the comics.
“I like to clear my head,” I replied, shrugging. I stuffed a few apples into my bag.
“Gotten any painting done?” he asked.
“A little.” I shrugged. That sunset was still in the back of my mind and I wanted nothing more than to paint it. “Mostly exploring the area.”
“I should go with you at some point,” he replied. “We could have an adventure. And then your mother could scold me when you come back with scrapes on your knees.” He chuckled.
“Maybe.” I smiled at him. “I’ll be back for dinner, okay?”
“Pretty sure this family vacation has been a wonky honeymoon for your mother and I,” he commented. “With you gone all day and Hugo yelling at the television … not too shabby.”
“The visual the word ‘honeymoon’ puts into my head is inappropriate,” I said, ducking out the back door.
I had a plan this time. I knew what I was going to say. What I was going to do.
When I didn’t find Scorpius at the creek, I kept moving upstream. I paused to collect some berries (though they were gone in a matter of seconds) and continued through the foggy air toward his rental house. He had made that walk more times than I had, but I still wasn’t fond of it. I would have taken the gravel road if it didn’t circle all the way around the mountain before hitting his drive.
Out of curiosity, I checked the shed, but found it empty. As was the side yard. Damn. I’d hoped I could find him somewhere outside, but he wasn’t on the deck either. Bugger.
I also had no idea where his bedroom window was.
That was when I heard voices from around front of the house. Raised voices.
I strained myself to hear, tiptoeing under the window line back toward the front.
“It’s not that I’m not trying, okay?”
“You’re never around!”
“I can’t be around.”
“I’m very disappointed in you.”
“I can’t do this like you can, okay? I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“You don’t have a choice.”
“When is she leaving then?” Scorpius sounded defeated and tired.
Mr. Malfoy shrugged. “A few days,” he said. “If you’re not going to help, then I don’t want to see you back here until dinner. You’re making things worse.” He turned and marched back into the house, slamming the door behind him.
In a second, Scorpius’ knees buckled and he was on the ground, face in his hands.
My bag fell beside me and I skinned my knees on my way to pulling him into my arms. He didn’t resist, only moved to embrace me tightly. His fingers clutched my shirt.
“Let’s go,” he whispered into my skin. His lips were just above my collarbone and it made me shiver. “Please, Rose. Let’s just go somewhere.”
“Okay.” I nodded and helped him to his feet. He looked shaken and scared. I grabbed my bag, took his hand, and led him into the trees.
Scorpius was quiet for a while, letting me lead. It made me uncomfortable when he wasn’t teasing or taunting or just rambling about nothing, but I didn’t pry. Instead we walked in silence for a long time. His breathing slowed eventually, as we approached my house, but I led the way around it and down to the lake.
I forced him to sit on the beach and began building up the fire again even though it was still morning. I needed something to do with my hands. Something to distract me from looking at him, because every glance made my heart hurt. His expression was vacant. There was no intensity in his eyes.
Once I had the fire going, I sat beside him, pulling my legs up to my chest.
“Thank you,” he said after a while.
I wasn’t sure for what, so I nodded.
“She’s – erm – getting worse.” Scorpius’ jaw tightened. He was clearly in pain. “Ali said they thought this would be best for her.”
“Ali?” I looked over, raising a brow.
“Mother’s nurse,” he explained. “She’s been here the last few days to do a preliminary check-up since it’s two weeks into the month.” Scorpius ran his fingers through his hair three or four times. “But she’s not better. She’s not getting better.”
Ali was the nurse. His mum’s nurse.
And now I felt like an even bigger idiot. Splendid.
“Would I be rude if I asked what it was?” I asked softly, slipping my hand into his.
“Wouldn’t be rude. I just wish I could give you an answer.” Scorpius shrugged a little. “They thought it was like six different things. Then they treated her for some strange jungle disease and it seemed to be working, so we came here to get away from it because apparently humidity helps and now …”
“Now?” I prompted.
“She hasn’t gotten out of bed in three days,” he said, teeth running the length of his bottom lip. “She can barely speak. I don’t know. I feel like some days she’s going to be fine and other lengths of time she’s fading so fast.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. It took everything in my power not to picture myself in that situation. Mum with some unknown disease. In a bed. I blinked back unexpected tears.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Scorpius said, his voice airy. He was running his hand through his hair again, so I took that one too and forced it into his lap.
“It’s fine,” I insisted. “It’s your own business who you tell about your personal life and I shouldn’t have been such a bitch.”
His lips curved into a small smile. “Why were you there today?”
“To apologize,” I said. “For everything.”
“Everything?” He raised a brow.
“Everything.” I nodded and scooted closer to him. “Just let me be your distraction. You were nice enough to do it for me.” I squeezed his hand.
He squeezed back. “Okay,” he replied. “I like the sound of that.” It looked like he needed it.
“What kind of distraction?” I asked with a fond smile. “I could always try to fish again.”
“I just want to spend time with you,” Scorpius replied. “You can pick. Whatever you’d like. I’m taking a break from planning adventures.” He shot me a wink that made my stomach explode with nerves.
How was he capable of that?
“Okay.” I nodded sheepishly. Even though I had a game plan that morning, it hadn’t extended to being Scorpius’ distraction on the beach. Then I smiled, remembering his gaze and teasing smile on many occasions. “Let’s go swimming.”
He looked up, surprised. “Yeah?”
“Yep.” I got to my feet, finally letting go of his hand, and moved toward the water. I tested it with my toes. Not bad. And the air was so muggy it could have been freezing and I wouldn’t have minded. “Unless you don’t want to.”
When I turned back, Scorpius already had his shirt off. It was thrown over the same branch my bobber was stuck in. In two weeks, he’d gotten some sun. The tops of his shoulders were a little bronzer than they had been before and I spotted some freckles I hadn’t seen.
Not that I was looking at his shoulders.
“Falling behind, Juliet,” Scorpius said, quick to lose his pants and toss those aside as well. His boxers were green today. He shot me a cocky grin and walked into the water, getting to his knees before he dove in.
I wondered momentarily if there were anymore giant catfish in there.
“Come on!” Scorpius called once he surfaced, the sun reflecting off his wet shoulders and face.
I moved back toward the fire and pulled off my shirt and shorts. Luckily, today I didn’t have kittens on and came prepared in case we met up at the creek.
“You cheated!” Scorpius cried, laughing.
“I came prepared.” I pointed at my bathing suit, doing a turn to model it properly. “How’s the water?”
“How is it?” I repeated.
“Get in.” Scorpius swam toward me with a smirk on his face. “Now.”
“Maybe I won’t,” I said. “We could do something other than swimming.” I grinned, glad to finally see him smiling again and the light back in his eyes. A distraction was a good idea.
“Don’t make me come up there.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fat chance. You’re already in the water.”
His brow raised, clearly accepting the challenge as he moved out of the lake.
I hadn’t thought this through properly. I considered running, but was then distracted by the fact that he was sopping wet, glistening, and walking toward me.
Not okay for a seventeen-year-old girl to be looking at. Not okay at all.
Scorpius took advantage of the weakness, threw me over his shoulder, and walked into the lake, tossing me in.
“You’re stubborn,” he said once I surfaced. Then he fell back into the water.
“That’s not fair!” I countered. “I can’t throw you over my shoulder.”
“Do you want to? I’ll try and pretend to be light.”
“I’d have to pretend to be strong.” I swam out a little ways, eyes on the sky. Then I kicked some water at him and heard a choke.
“Damnit!” Scorpius said, laughing. Then he splashed me back. “Do you always torment sweet, unsuspecting boys?”
“What?” I said, flushing. This was becoming a regular occurrence around him and I hated it.
“What a bully you are, Rose,” he replied, still grinning like a jackass. “You’re always just so mean.” He splashed more water.
“I’m never mean!” I cried, splashing him right in the sodding face.
“You probably have a boyfriend back home and everything,” Scorpius said, laughing. “And you’re in a skimpy little bathing suit with a very handsome man in a lake in the mountains.”
“Handsome?” I said. “You really are full of yourself.”
“I just won’t lie,” Scorpius said gleefully.
I splashed him again. “I want to see you do something you aren’t good at.”
“Gladly,” he replied. “There are plenty of things I’m not good at.”
“I’m not letting you pick,” I said. “Then you’ll just pool-shark me and secretly have a talent for it.” I went back to floating.
“Go on,” Scorpius said with a sigh, impatient.
“You’re going to paint,” I said with a cheeky grin.
He was quiet. “No.”
“Yes!” I adjusted to look at him. “Yes, you’re going to paint.”
“I hate painting.”
“You’re just horrible at it, aren’t you?”
“I don’t want to.”
“Too bad.” I splashed him again, swimming away. “You’re going to paint and I’m going to laugh.”
“Why don’t you teach me?” Scorpius asked, swimming after me.
“Okay. I can do that.” I shrugged. I wouldn’t be able to teach him technique, but I could at least show him how to mix colors.
“Brilliant.” He grabbed my leg, met my eyes for just a second, and pulled me underwater.
It was ages before we pulled ourselves onto the sand, exhausted. Scorpius rolled onto his back. His body was covered in dirt, which was welcome at this point. I followed suit, chest heaving.
“Pretty sure I won the second race,” I said, catching my breath. Or trying to.
“Pretty sure I got a leg cramp.” Scorpius huffed a little.
“Pretty sure you’re a sore loser,” I noted.
“I’ll throw you back in.” Scorpius glanced over for a moment, pausing. “Thanks, Rose.”
“For spending today with me.” He smiled a little. “I needed it.”
“My pleasure,” I said. I sat up, ignoring the sand getting everywhere. I scooted toward the fire, which was barely smoldering now. “What’re you going to do when you get back?”
He frowned. “I’m not sure. I know my father is still frustrated with me for not taking this well, but how can I?”
“Can I ask how long things have been like this?” I bit my lip, nervously. I hated prying.
“Years,” he said and my eyes snapped over. “She’s been sick for years. It just started getting worse in the past six months, but the symptoms came a long time ago.”
I thought back to school. He seemed charming and collected. Then again, maybe that was his strong point. Hiding it.
“It’s starting to wear on me,” Scorpius explained. “Once I think she’s better, everything gets worse. My father can deal with it. He’s been through it. He just can’t understand why I have to leave every day. He thinks I’m being a horrible son.”
“So he’s mad at you?”
“Furious,” Scorpius replied. “He loves my mother so much, anything that could hurt her more than she already is sends him into a panic.”
“Is there anything I can do?” I offered.
“You’re already doing it.”
It was hard to imagine my mum being sick for that long, watching her go through everything. Even if I had Hugo, that wouldn’t simplify things. I glanced back at him. “I don’t want you to go home tonight,” I said, taking myself a little by surprise.
“Hmm?” Scorpius met my eyes. “You have a tent?”
“Stay at my place,” I said. “Come have dinner with us and you can sleep on the couch.”
He was quiet for a minute, tracing his fingers in the sand. “That wouldn’t make this a secret anymore,” he said.
“I don’t think we had a good reason for it to be a secret anyway.” I smiled. “If it makes you feel better, we can still keep your side a secret.”
“Should I bring back my fish?” Scorpius asked. “This is sounding a little star-crossed lovers to me.”
“Maybe you should stop distracting me in sheds and we’d be fine.” I shot him a cheeky grin and stood, grabbing my clothes and sliding them on. There was still sand in uncomfortable places, but my stomach was grumbling and all I wanted was dinner.
“Maybe you should stop staring and you would be fine,” Scorpius shot back after a moment of silence, laughing, and led the way back toward the rental.
“I was watching your eyes the whole time, Malfoy,” I called. “Don’t think I didn’t catch you.”
The back of his neck went red.
“You’re sure this is an okay idea?” Scorpius asked. We were about five minutes from the house and he was starting to get nervous. He kept running his fingers through his hair.
“It’s fine.” I tried not to think of the different ways it could go.
“Can you just … can you go in and ask first?” he said. He looked nervous all of a sudden, which wasn’t very common for him. “I don’t want to impose on your family’s vacation.”
I compared my vacation to his mother’s rehabilitation. If my family was cheeky about it, they could get over it.
“I’ll go in first. Just stay out here and I’ll come and get you.” I smiled at him and disappeared into the clearing. I climbed the stairs onto the back deck and moved into the house.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, were three people sitting at the table staring at me. Hugo’s face went red.
“Rose, where have you been?” Mum asked seriously, her lips pressed hard together.
“On a walk,” I replied. I tried to meet Hugo’s eyes to see what they knew, but he was examining the oak table designs. Helpful. “I said I’d be back for dinner. Is everyone hungry?”
It probably took every ounce of control Mum had not to roll her eyes at me.
“Go to your room,” Dad said. He wasn’t looking at me either and the back of his neck was red. “And no more sneaking out all day to see a boy.”
So they didn’t know who it was.
“I wasn’t–” I began.
“You were,” Dad said. “This was supposed to be a family vacation. It was time for us to spend together since you two are away for nine months out of the year at Hogwarts.” He finally looked up at me. “I look forward to this all year, getting to see you, and I’m disappointed that you’d rather spend it walking around in the woods with some boy.”
My heart broke seeing my father like that. He was always joking around and cheerful and it hurt to see him so upset. Not mad. He could never be mad at me, but disappointed.
The horrible part was, I had been so distracted by my new friendship and the mysterious Scorpius Malfoy, that I failed to realize how right he really was. I had spent barely any time with my family on vacation, save the game day and some meals and late night television shows. Instead I spent it with a boy I saw all year.
I frowned. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“Hugo, go to your room too,” Mum said. Her fingers were around a mug of tea on the table.
Dad didn’t meet my eyes again, so I sighed and left down the hall, walking into my room for the month, and closed the door. I heard Hugo’s door close upstairs.
The guilt ate away at me. I hadn’t thought how much effort my parents put into planning these vacations, from securing the rentals, the weekends, and the activities and food. They probably started thinking about it in January. They probably got really excited when they missed us while Hugo and I were off laughing with other people our age.
I was a horrible person.
I slipped off my shoes and sank onto the bed. Oh, hell. What was I supposed to do? It wasn’t even a full two weeks into the vacation and there were already problems.
How was I supposed to distract Scorpius from his own family, when I was stuck with mine?
I leapt off the bed and shot to the window, pushing it open. “Scorpius?” I whispered into the darkness. No response. “Scorpius?”
His head poked up at the end of the deck. I could only just see him in the light from the kitchen windows.
“Do they hate me?” he whispered back.
“They don’t know it’s you.”
“What?” he called softly.
“Just – c’mere.” I groaned and stuck my head out the window to make sure no one was secretly overhearing our conversation.
Scorpius clamoured onto the deck and crawled to the window. He still looked nervous. “Do I need to worry about a shotgun?” he said with a small smile.
“Get in here.” I grabbed his shirt collar and tugged him inside, closing the window behind him. Then I took out my wand and performed and silencing charm on the door. “Okay.” I released a breath and told him what had happened – that Hugo had told, Mum had been mad, and Dad had been disappointed.
And that I didn’t quite get a free moment to ask if the boy I had been ignoring them for could spend the night on the couch.
Scorpius frowned. He had busied himself with closing the curtains and then leaned against the wall beside them. “So I shouldn’t be here,” he said.
“You’re not going home.”
“What? You want me to live in the woods? How very Lord of the Flies of you,” Scorpius replied in a dry way.
“Just stay.” I wasn’t sure why I wanted him to stay, I just knew the thought of him going back to where he had to deal with so much pain was unbearable.
“What if someone walks in?” he asked.
“You’ll hide.” I shrugged. “Or I’ll say I forced you to stay.”
“I don’t think people will see it that way.” A smile was curving up his lips. “But okay. I’ll stay if you insist.”
“I do.” I grinned and looked around. “You should probably change.”
“Into what? One of your nighties? I’ll pass. Thanks anyway.” He slipped off his shoes and placed them under the window.
“Hugo was trying to mess up my room the other day and left some of his in here.”
I raised a brow. “Why not?”
Scorpius looked at the pile of clothes I presented. A pair of jeans. Gym shorts. T-shirts with crude slogans. Quidditch shirts. Nothing from a department store and certainly nothing of the quality Scorpius was used to wearing. He grimaced.
This made me laugh. “You have got to be joking,” I said. “Just put on the gym shorts and the Finches shirt.”
He was bouncing on his toes. “I’ll sleep in this, thank you.”
I raised a brow. “No, you won’t. You’ll sleep in this. Thanks for the offer though.”
“You’re pushy.” Scorpius shot me a glare and grabbed the shorts and shirt in irritation. “Just know I’m not comfortable with this situation. Or you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, yeah.” I turned so he could change and I put on my own gym shorts and a t-shirt from when Dad and I got second place at a Father-Daughter Day competition a few years prior.
Eugh, I was such a horrible daughter.
When I turned back, I burst out laughing. Scorpius looked way more than just uncomfortable. It was clear he didn’t remember the last time he wore a plain cotton t-shirt and shorts. His body was stiff and his nose wrinkled.
“I severely dislike you right now,” he grumbled.
I beamed. “That’s the way it ought to be.” I flipped off the main light and got into bed.
“Do you have a blanket so I can sleep on the floor?” Scorpius looked around and peeked in the closet to see if there were any spares. There was one, so he spread it out beside the bed. He grabbed a stuffed animal that had been perched on the dresser to use as a pillow.
The room was big enough for a few people to sleep comfortably, but the floor wasn’t exactly made for it. The carpeting was old and worn and would probably feel like sleeping on concrete. Or the floor of that shed.
I pulled the covers up to my middle and turned out the bedside lamp so we were bathed in darkness.
I snuggled down into the pillows. “Are you comfortable?”
“Glad there’s air conditioning. It’s hot outside.” Scorpius was rolling around on the ground and groaned at one point.
I bit my lip. Part of me wanted to offer to share a bed with him since he was uncomfortable and we had fallen asleep with each other in the shed, so how different could it be? Well, my parents could walk in, for one. We could get uncomfortable again, for two.
“Scorpius?” I said softly.
“Do you want to...” I trailed off, feeling like an idiot.
“Do I want to what?”
“I said yes. The answer is yes.” He was grinning. I could tell.
“Okay.” I was glad it was dark. My face was on fire again.
The side of the bed lowered as Scorpius crawled in beside me. He was warm. I felt his shoulder touch mine and he sank down into the pillows. “Your bed is comfortable,” he noted.
“Yep.” I was chewing on my bottom lip awkwardly.
My entire body was on fire. Heart beating quickly. He was right next to me. His arm was touching mine. Everything was hazy.
“So, Juliet, are you comfortable?” Scorpius asked, clearly trying to break the tension.
“Your fish girlfriend is going to get jealous, you know.” I nudged him.
He nudged me back. So I elbowed him. Then he grabbed my sides and I shrieked with laughter, shoving him away and almost off the side of the bed. He snatched my wrist to keep himself up, pulling me closer.
And then on top of him.
Oh, Godric. Why. Why. Why.
I could barely see the outline of his face. My chest was pressed against his and I could feel his heart racing. Or maybe that was mine? I couldn’t even breathe anymore. One of his hands was on my hip, the other on my arm. He didn’t move. My hand was splayed on his shoulder, the other to the left of his head on the pillow. My hair was scattered onto his collar bone. My eyes moved to his lips.
As soon as it happened, we leapt apart. I almost flew off the other side of the bed, he scrambled to sit up.
“Sorry,” Scorpius stammered. “I was just trying not to fall.”
“Yeah!” I squeaked. “That’s fine. Didn’t want you to fall or anything.” Let’s all just carry watermelons.
“We should go to sleep.”
My heart was racing. Fat chance. “Yeah, that sounds good.”
Scorpius slid back down into the bed. From the light under the door, I could see his chest rising and falling rapidly, pulling against the t-shirt.
I moved back beside him. This wasn’t the most comfortable position I’d ever been in, especially since I was almost off the bed, on my back, shoulders even with his. Why must he have such broad shoulders? Get your own side of the sodding bed.
“Are you okay?” Scorpius asked, looking over. He must have noticed me fidgeting.
“Trying to get comfortable.” I shrugged and groaned a little when my elbow knocked into his. Bugger.
“Here – erm,” Scorpius mumbled, scooting away. Then he moved his arm around me and pulled me to his chest, same as he had done in the shed. He held me tighter this time and I draped one leg over his to get comfortable.
My eyes closed right away once I draped an arm over his stomach.
“Rose?” he asked.
“I think you should be a painter.”
I raised a brow. “Oh?”
“I think you should do what you love,” Scorpius explained. “Everything is hard, but that’s what makes it worth it.”
“And you don’t think painting for other people’s needs will make it horrible?” I asked.
“You just have to balance it.” Scorpius sighed, which moved my hair a little. “You have to balance doing things for other people with doing things for yourself.”
I smiled. “Pretty sure you just sounded like a Hufflepuff.”
“Don’t tell my mates.”
I chuckled. “As long as you don’t tell mine I’m sharing my bed with a Slytherin.”
Scorpius squeezed my shoulders. “I think they can make an exception.”
“You haven’t spoken to Dom,” I noted. “She’ll want to know your whole life story before making exceptions. My family is very protective over me and who I share my bed with.”
“Then I’ll just have to win them over, won’t I?”
A/N: Thank you all for the kind words so far on this story. It's really a great deal of fun to write! Thoughts?
UP NEXT: Scorpius learns to paint. Sort of.