Chapter 1 : Ink on a Page
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He should have been able to sleep – after all, it had been a very long day – but the moonlight that slipped between the curtains was blinding. That and the bed felt very empty. Draco flung an arm to his right. It found nothing but silk comforter.
Giving up on sleeping at all that night, he flung his blankets aside and, rubbing his eyes, shuffled across the room to the large desk by the window. He sank into its matching wooden chair; the straight rungs poked into his back, but Draco hardly noticed. His eyes were fixed on a small object on the desk before him, sparkling in the moonlight: Ginny’s wedding ring. He hadn’t been able to bring himself to move it since she had laid it there two days before.
It had been yet another long day; this month had been an especially busy one for the company. Investment offers were pouring in right and left and he had worked past eight every night this week. He didn’t want to think about last week; a few nights he hadn’t even come home.
Apparating into the front hall, he saw the first sign that something was out of the ordinary. Luggage was stacked neatly beside the hall desk. For a moment Draco thought they might have company, but then he recognized the bags as Ginny’s.
In their bedroom he found Ginny. She was standing next to the window, the drapes half pulled, the evening sun burning in her hair. Her normally-smiling face was solemn.
“Ginny?” Draco approached her slowly. “Is something wrong?”
She held out a slim hand to stop him. “I’m leaving, Draco.”
“Leaving? For a vacation? Why didn’t you mention this before?” He frowned; there was an important business dinner soon that he needed her to attend.
“No, Draco, for good.” She held up something that caught the light, throwing it in shards around the room. It took him several seconds to realize it was her wedding ring.
His briefcase dropped to the floor with a dull thud. “You can’t leave.” He stated it as a simple fact. “We…we have to talk about… things… you know…” he added slightly desperately. “The way people do.”
Ginny gave a tired sigh and ran a hand through her flaming hair. “‘The way people do,’” she repeated. “That’s just it, Draco, I’ve tried. We have talked. I’ve tried to explain. When that didn’t work, I even stayed at Mum’s for a few days, remember?”
“Of course I remember,” he snapped. “What I don’t remember is why we thought that would help anything. It didn’t, just like you leaving won’t help anything now!”
She shook her head and continued, “I just can’t take it any more. You’re never home. With my job I’m home by six everyday, but with you I never know if you’ll come home at all.” Her voice acquired a dangerous quiver as she finished, “It just isn’t working. Maybe it never did.”
Sudden anger rose inside his chest. “You’ll never make it without me!”
Her answer – a quiet “I’m already without you” – drained the anger as swiftly as it had come. It left nothing in its place but a dull emptiness.
Ginny set the ring on the desk beside her. The click it made was like a bomb inside Draco’s head. Ginny walked silently past him and out of the room, avoiding his eyes. What felt like ages later he heard the distant “pop” of someone disapparating.
Draco picked his briefcase off the floor beside the desk and placed it before him, carefully avoiding the ring. He lit the candle on the desk with a wave of his wand. From an inside pouch of his case, he removed an envelope and then placed the case back on the floor. The top of the envelope was already slit and he tugged out its papers.
A blank line stared up at him, awaiting his name. But he could not bring himself to sign it. He hadn’t been able to when he had received the papers that morning and he couldn’t now.
He bent again to his briefcase and pulled a thick green jumper from it. This, too, he had received that morning, with a note that read, “Sorry, this got into my things by mistake. – G.” He unfolded the jumper and held it up. Familiar, unwanted memories flooded his mind.
He had misplaced her. He hadn’t lost her; he simply wasn’t sure of her exact, current location. It was their first day in the mansion together and it was a big place. He was starting to get slightly concerned that she had wandered somewhere and didn’t know how to get back.
The house elves directed him to the library. He finally found her in a back corner, tucked in an oversized armchair, nose in a book, body engulfed by a large, green jumper of his. He sank into the chair beside hers. “You’re wearing my jumper.”
“It looks better on me,” she pointed out, not looking up from her book.
He laughed and agreed, “I always said you looked good in Slytherin colors.”
“And you always looked dreadful in red.”
His eyebrows snapped together. “I look good in anything,” he protested, but he knew she was right. They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes before he asked, “Do you think you’ll like it here?”
Ginny looked up for the first time to meet his eyes, “I love it already.” He would never forget that picture of her in his jumper, snuggled into the armchair, face glowing with happiness.
Draco looked up as the door to the bedroom creaked open. His stomach gave one fantastic leap into his throat before he realized it was only Marie. The scraggly tabby cat padded her way silently across the plush carpet to rub against his legs. He remembered the day Ginny had brought Marie home; she had been the ugliest kitten he had ever seen.
“She’s just going through her awkward teenage years,” Ginny informed him. “We all went through that.”
“Not me,” he retorted and told her on no uncertain terms the cat had to go. He didn’t even like cats and this one was particularly unappealing.
But Marie had stayed and made herself very much at home.
Marie jumped into his lap and stared up at him with her orb-like eyes. “It’s just you and me now,” Draco told her. Something about her gaze was reproachful. “I guess eight months is nothing for the record books, is it?” he asked, speaking more to himself than the cat. Marie responded by curling herself into a ball and, by all appearances, going to sleep.
Draco looked again at the papers before him and ran a hand through his hair. “It’s time to let go,” he whispered softly. The quill in his hand felt like it was made of lead. As soon as he had begun it was over. His signature stared up at him, dark and immovable.
He folded the papers and put them back in the envelope. Although he couldn’t see it, he knew the sun was beginning to rise on the other side of the mansion. Too late to return to bed, Draco sat and watched the sky slowly brighten as he stroked the cat on his lap.
* * * * * * *
Ginny got the letter three days after she had left. It came in the afternoon post to her office, forwarded from her lawyer. She had expected to find the standard papers, generic and cold. When she opened the envelope, however, a dagger struck her chest. Staring up at her was the familiar, angular signature of her husband.
Seeing it scrawled boldly across the line at the bottom of the page, tears swelled behind her eyes. As they poured over and down her cheeks, she chastised herself for crying over ink on a page.
Well, there you have it. My first attempt at angst. I am the first person to admit angst is not my genre, but somehow this came to be. That’s what comes of listening to the one country song I like over and over again (country usually makes me want to kill myself, or at least burst into tears). Honestly, I don’t even read angst so I have no idea if this is what the genre is usually like. (I’m completely a romantic comedy kind of girl myself.)
My two wonderful betas Misty_Rey and DrAcO’sGaL have assured me it works, but I would absolutely love to know what you think. So… is it angsty? Even if you hated it I want to know. Honestly. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this.
Lane (aka: dream_catcher)