Chapter 5 : Chapter V - Reality Bug
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Merope felt as though the speeding week that went by was all just a simple hallicunation, a dream that would never end and would always fufill her wants and needs. In truth, everything Tom had done in the past week was a bundle of overjoyous firsts for her. The first time his hand wrapped around her wrist and grinned at her, full of desire and lust.
"What's your name?" he had whispered gently, ignoring the shrill cries of Linda, the now ex-girlfriend, possibly ex-fiance, off in the distance. "I must know your name." His soothing voice felt like it was caressing Merope's heart in the palm of his hand, and it sent thrilling shivers down her spine. She had never felt this way before, and never had expected too. It never occured to her that something might go wrong, that her father might show up, or worse yet, her father would show up and kill him. Kill the man she loved and the man that loved her in return. At last. Even though it wasn't love that was unrequited, or love that wasn't forced into being so, Merope cherished it like a child.
"Merope. I'm yours, and I'm Merope Gaunt..." Her voice was more bold then she would have liked...but it was still the damn straight truth.
The first time he had held her in his strong, lean arms, was pure bliss. She could feel his muscles through his thin shirt and she loved the smell of him. A perfect mixture of muggle coffee and the wild outdoors. Merope wanted to drown herself in it. His parents, noble rich muggles who lived in the Riddle house just overlooking Little Hangleton, didn't approve at all of Merope. But Tom didn't care. Why would he care? He was under Merope's potion...and had no clue. He had no clue that the girl he was head over heals in finally love with was a witch, with magical powers, and was considered lowly scum that betrayed her family by being half-witch.
But she felt as though in this state, she could do anything with a wand in her hand. Absolutely anything. Her heart had soon controlled her head and she and Tom had taken a joyful pleasure ride on his steed up to his parents house. He insisted, after that morning's refreshing potion that was dumped into a cup of hot tea she had retrieved from a local shop by summoning a weak spell. Merope had let her greasy hair fall down to her waist now, hanging in curtains, covering one crooked eye. For once, she felt half normal, seemed half normal...but it was only a cover up. A facade. Tom Riddle seemed pleased as he dismounted his horse and helped Merope off of it. She relished being a princess, but couldn't help feeling a gut feeling that was telling her to 'Get back on the damned horse and ride home. Now.'
Something was dreadfully wrong about her going to see Tom Riddle, the love of her life, and his parents together. Was it fear that they wouldn't accept her into the already perfect and rich with love family? No. It was somehting more foreboding. Merope didn't care if his parents didn't accept her, because for once...she accepted herself.
She watched as the dark haired lad let go of her hand with a gentle kiss and then stood up straight and proud. His fist was loosely clenched, and he raised it to the pure oak door that was dividing her surreal world, to the real one. Knock, knock, knock...
"Oh my...goodness!" a startled shreak brought Merope crashing back to her situation. "Nicholas! Nicholas you must...oh my god, NICOLAS! It's Tom!" An old woman, good looking, probably somewhere in her mid-to-late fourties, stood in the doorway, a smock over her elegant poofy dress. One delicate hand showing a marvelous diamond ring that was gleaming, was pressed to her chest, and the other hand clasped to her mouth in surprise. Merope raised a quisitive eyebrow. Tom's mother. Oh Merlin... Merope surpressed the strong urge to roll her eyes at the overly dramatic woman and was egging to just snap at her and Tom, saying she'd have enough and that if he didn't take her home, she'd be walking back herself.
Confidence definitely wasn't an issue with Merope Gaunt anymore.
It was then that an old man, likewise in his late fourties, had appeared from behind her, a pipe in his mouth and newspaper in his hand. It was purely easy to see where Tom had gotten his good looks from, his father truly was a young looking man for his age. "What's this, Catty? Come, now... you've hallucinated at least four times this week, and that musty air outside isn't going to - Tom?!" Nicholas the old man had laid a hand on his wife's shoulder, egging her to come back inside with a bored and dull expression on his face...until he saw his son standing with Merope just outside.
"Good Lord," Nicholas gasped.
Tom had looked back at Merope....and Merope herself gave a week smile. Here goes nothing... "Father, Mother," Tom began in a voice that was shakey, but would grow steadier as he spoke. "I...I'm dreadfully sorry to startle you. I've been, away and - "
"Nonesense," his father cut him off and Merope's brows furrowed together. That wasn't the way her love was to be spoken too. She had half a mind to curse him into next Tuesday, and although her small fingers itched for her wand hidden in her sock, she resisted the heavy urge. "You've been...off...with a...woman haven't you? Dear sweet Linda came home two weeks ago, bawling her pretty little eyes out, exclaiming that you left her! With another woman! Thomas, we haven't raised you to be this way - "
"Now Father," Tom's voice was stern and Merope grinned from behind him, and waltz up, placing a hand on her lover's shoulder.
"Tom, Tom," she cooed in his ear softly. "Let me handle this, m'love..." side-stepping Tom, she came infront of him and looked both of the elders in the eye, she had her chin up and her posture as straight as it would ever be. "You listen to me, the both of you." How I wish to use my wand, it would be much more...appropriate...but I'd be like father, hexing a muggle, Tom's parents nonetheless... Tom was fuming behind her, hands in his pockets, sending sharp glares. Merope sent him a comforting look and then turned back around.
"How dare you speak to him that way!" her voice was shrill and forbidding anyone to back-talk her. No no, no one smart enough back-talked a Gaunt. Even if the Gaunt in question was no more than a mere teenager of 16, nearly seventeen. However she had grown in her power hungry presence with Tom...oh how she had grown. "He's your son, and moreover...my lover." She reached down, her fingers twitching, itching for her wand....and it was pulled away from her sock, and raised in their faces. "You will not speak to him that way again, you will not speak to him or I at all, you understand, the both of you?"
Their faces shown that they were nearly in histerics. Catty, his mother, gave a hooting, un-ladylike laugh. "How can you threaten us with a stick, little girl!? And why would our perfect son want to love you over his fiance Li-"
"I don't give a rat's ass, Missus Riddle, forgive me," Merope snarled, raising her figure higher. "And here are my main points: One, you surely do not want to know what this 'stick'," she gave it an examplitory wave. "can do, and two: he loves me for who I am and god-be-damned if that isn't true..." With a slam of the door, Merope stuck her wand in her dress pocket and mounted the steed.
"Let's go Tom, dearest, I'm through."
Later that night, Merope lay in bed, her words she had spoken playing like a tape recorder. Tom was snoring gently next to her, already asleep, whereas she had tossed and turned. "he loves me for who I am and god-be-damned if that isn't true..."
...well God is apparently damned in my case....because does he actually love me? For who I am? What in the name of goodness' sakes am I doing to myself? To him?
Oh, Merope, quit beating yourself up and go to bed. He does love you. He just needed influence and the reality bug just bit you on the arse. Get over it...
And with that final thought, the lights were flicked off in Merope's head and she put herself into a restless sleep.
Authors Note: Trusted Author Status! WHEE!
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by Regina Noctis